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Belt and Road

Belt and Road provides exporters with a brief analysis of political and economic risks for the countries under the Belt and Road Initiative.
Flag and map of Papua New Guinea

 
Key Information
Capital   Port Moresby
Population   7.03 million
Area   462,840 sq km
Currency   Kina (1 PGK = 0.2935 USD as of 14 Jan 2020)
Official language   Tok Pisin, English and Hiri Motu
Form of government   Constitutional Monarchy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   #108 out of 190 in 2019 (↑1)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 148 out of 160 in 2018
Top three export markets (% of total, 2018)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2018)
Australia (19.5%)   Australia (34.0%)
Singapore (17.7%)   China (16.5%)
China (16.8%)   Singapore (11.1%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

PPapua New Guinea is a constitutional monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state, represented by the governor-general, Robert Dadae, who is nominated by the national parliament. The country has three levels of government - national, provincial and local. The prime minister is the head of government. James Marape replaced Peter O’Neill as Primer Minister in May 2019 following O’Neill’s resignation. The national legislature is a unicameral national parliament with 111 members elected for five-year terms. The next parliamentary poll is scheduled to be held in 2022.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Papua New Guinea is highly reliant on the resources industry, particularly in oil, gas and gold. The economic growth slowed sharply in 2018 which reflected the shut down of its natural gas processing plant after a powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake in February 2018. The government has prioritized the development of the agricultural sector but the sector will continue to be constrained by the country’s vulnerability to extreme weather events, periodic drought, as well as lack of infrastructure in rural areas. Meanwhile, the country maintains years of current-account surplus. Its foreign-exchange reserves increased to US$2.2 billion by end-2018, from US$1.7 billion a year earlier. In February 2019, Moody’s changed the rating outlook on Papua New Guinea's issuer ratings to stable from negative and affirmed the “B2” issuer and senior unsecured ratings. The change of outlook reflects the constraints on government liquidity will continue to ease. In particular, the continuation of the government's strategy to use proceeds from foreign-currency denominated commercial and concessional borrowings to repay short-term and high cost domestic debt will reduce refinancing risk
.

 

Hong Kong – Papua New Guinea Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Papua New Guinea decreased by 8.2% from HK$229.1 million in 2017 to HK$210.3 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Papua New Guinea were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+0.6%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+7.0%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (-19.3%), which represented 69.3% of total exports to Papua New Guinea.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Papua New Guinea buyers. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Papua New Guinea has been satisfactory with one payment difficulty case reported during the past 12 months (from December 2018 to November 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).


Last update: 14 January 2020

     
Flag and map of Indonesia

 
Key Information
Capital   Jakarta
Population   267.0 million
Area   1,904,569 sq km
Currency   Indonesian Rupiah (1 USD = 13,978 IDR as of 23 December 2019)
Official language   Bahasa Indonesia
Form of government   Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 73 out of 190 (¯1) in 2019
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 50 out of 141 in 2019 (¯5)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 51 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2018)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2018)
Manufactured products (70.4%)   Raw & auxiliary materials (69.4%)
Mining & other sector products (24.5%)   Capital goods (16.3%)
Agricultural products (3.2%)   Consumer goods (13.8 %)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2018)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2018)
China (15.1%)   China (24.1%)
Japan (10.8%)   Singapore (11.4%)
USA (10.3%)   Japan (9.5%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation in the world. It is a presidential republic wherein the president serves as both the head of state and head of government for a term of five years. Political environment has been relatively stable since the country’s first direct presidential election in 2004. The incumbent president Joko Widodo assumed office since 2014 and won his second term at the presidential election held in April 2019. The national legislative body (People's Consultative Assembly) was made up by the House of People’s Representatives (lower house) with 575 members and the Regional Representatives’ Council (upper house) with 136 members. The next elections are scheduled for 2024.embers. The next elections are scheduled for 2024.
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Indonesia is the largest economy and the only G20 member in Southeast Asia. The economy has continued to perform well in recent years and stabilized at above 5% per annum, thanks to robust domestic demand which offset a decline in net exports. In 2019, the Indonesia’s central bank has cut its benchmark interest rate by four times to 5.0% In a bid to stimulate growth, adding that it would keep its policy accommodative to support economic growth in 2020. Despite ongoing global uncertainty, Indonesia’s economic outlook continues to be positive over medium term, underpinned by strong private consumption as well as infrastructure-related investment activities. Poverty reduction remains one of the biggest challenges to Indonesia. Although poverty rate has declined sharply by more than half since 1999 to 9.8% in 2018, about 25.9 million Indonesians (around 10% of the population) still live below the poverty line, according to the World Bank.

 

Hong Kong – Indonesia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Indonesia decreased by 10.9% from HK$20,421 million in 2017 to HK$19,970 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Indonesia were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-32.2%), (2) textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles and related products (-1.2%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus & appliances and electrical parts thereof (-1.7%), which represented 51.2% of total exports to Indonesia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Indonesian buyers. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications on Indonesia decreased 30.4% and 86.2% respectively, while insured business increased by 6.5%. Major insured products were chemical products, clothing and plastic articles, which represented 58.8% of HKECIC’s insured business on Indonesia. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Indonesia has been satisfactory, with one payment difficulty case and two claim payment cases reported in the past 12 months (December 2018 to November 2019).

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 24 December 2019

Flag and map of Mongolia

 
Key Information
Capital   Ulaanbaatar
Population   3.3 million
Area   1,566,500 sq km
Currency   Togrog (1 USD = 2737.40 MNT as of 20 Dec 2019)
Official language   Mongolian
Form of government   Republic
Ease of doing business (2018) by World Bank   # 74 out of 190 in 2018 (¯12)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 102 out of 141 in 2019 (¯1)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 129 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2018)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2018)
Mineral products (86.6%)   Mineral products (22.6%)
Textiles & textile articles (5.8%)   Machinery, equipment & electrical appliances (21.9%)
Natural or colored stones, precious metals & jewelry (2.1%)   Transport vehicles & spare parts (15.3%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2018)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2018)
China (93.4%)   China (33.6%)
United Kingdom (2.5%)   Russia (29.2%)
Russia (1.2%)   Japan (9.6%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Mongolia is a landlocked nation in East Asia. The President, elected to serve a four-year term by popular vote, is both the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. The President appoints the Prime Minister, who is the Head of Government and serves a term of four years. The country adopts a unicameral legislative with 76 members in the State Great Khural (parliament). In 2016, the Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) won a landslide victory by securing 65 out of 76 seats in the general election. However, the MPP lost in the 2017 presidential election to the Democratic Party’s (DP) candidate Khaltmaagiin Battulga. Election for the president and parliament are due to be held in June 2020 and June 2021 respectively.


The two neighbor countries China and Russia exert significant influence over the landlocked Mongolia. With the signing of the China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor in June 2016, which is one of the six priority corridors envisioned by China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the Sino-Mongolian relations entered a new era of economic cooperation that will be vital to the country’s economic recovery and long term stability.
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, International Monetary Fund


Mongolia possesses valuable deposits of natural resources, including coal, gold, copper and other precious metals. Economic growth is heavily reliant on its mining sector, which accounts for about 90% of the country’s exports and half of its GDP. Mongolia has experienced a sharp recovery in real GDP growth in recent years, primarily due to a combination of stronger mineral exports and a significant rise in commodity prices, as well as a ramp-up in foreign direct investment. In November 2019, S&P affirmed Mongolia’s long-term sovereign rating at 'B' with a stable outlook. The affirmation reflects S&P’s view that Mongolian government's fiscal performance continues to improve owing to higher commodity prices, expenditure discipline, and sound economic growth.

 

Hong Kong – Mongolia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong


Total exports from Hong Kong to Mongolia increased by 28.1% from HK$ 248 million in 2017 to HK$ 318 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Mongolia were: (1) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-9.1%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+103.1%), and (3) beverages (+58.6%), which represented 74.9% of total exports to Mongolia
.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Mongolian buyers. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Mongolia has been satisfactory with no claim payment or payment difficulty case reported during the past 12 months (from December 2018 to November 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 20 December 2019

   
Flag and map of Solomon Islands

 
Key Information
Capital   Honiara
Population   0.66 million
Area   28,896 sq km
Currency   Solomon Islands dollar (1 SBD = 0.1248 USD as of 9 December 2019)
Official language   Melanesian pidgin, English
Form of government   Constitutional Monarchy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 115 out of 190 in 2019 (↓1)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 104 out of 160 in 2018
Top three export markets (% of total, 2018)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2018)
China (67.4%)   China (22.7%)
Italy (7.3%)   Australia (18.2%)
India (5.1%)   Malaysia (12.0%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

Political Highlights

 

Solomon Islands became a member of the Commonwealth in 1978. It is a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state, represented by Governor-General, who must be a citizen of the country and is elected by Parliament. In July 2019, David Vunagi replaced Frank Kabui as the Governor-General following Kabui’s completion of his second term in office. The national legislature is unicameral, with 50 seats elected by universal suffrage for a four year term. In April 2019, Manasseh Sogavare was elected as the prime minister. He heads the Democratic Coalition for Advancement government, which is a four-party group comprising of the Democratic Alliance Party, Our Party (led by Mr Sogavare), the Kadere Party and the Peoples First Party. The four parties hold only 12 seats in parliament, but together with the support from independent legislators, the coalition government has total support of 33 members in the parliament. The next parliamentary election is scheduled for early 2023.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Solomon Islands is rich in undeveloped mineral resources such as lead, zinc, nickel, and gold, while most of the manufactured goods and petroleum products must be imported. A large portion of population relies on agriculture, fishing, and forestry for its livelihood. Australia and New Zealand are the major providers of security, technical and financial support to the Solomon Islands. The country’s future economic growth will be supported by infrastructure development, investment in expansion of tuna processing and telecommunication sector, and construction of the Tina River hydropower project backed by the Australian government
.

 

Hong Kong – Solomon Islands Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Solomon Islands increased by 27.0% from HK$62.6 million in 2017 to HK$79.5 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Solomon Islands were: (1) power generating machinery and equipment (+182.8%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-36.7%), and (3) articles of apparel and clothing accessories (+185.4%), which represented 75.3% of total exports to Solomon Islands.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering buyers in Solomon Islands. In the past 12 months (December 2018 to November 2019), there was no insured business on Solomon Islands.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 9 December 2019

     
Flag and map of Lesotho

 
Key Information
Capital   Maseru
Population   1.96 million
Area   30,355 sq km
Currency   Basptho Loti (1 LSL = 0.06839 USD as of 9 December 2019)
Official language   Sotho, English
Form of government   Constitutional Monarchy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 106 out of 190 in 2019 (↓2)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 131 out of 141 in 2019 (↓1)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 139 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2018)   Major merchandise imports* (% of total)
Clothing (41.2%)   -
Diamonds (39.8%)   -
Other (8.7%)   -
Top three export markets (% of total, 2018)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2018)
US (32.6%)   South Africa (87.5%)
Belgium (31.5%)   China (4.3%)
South Africa (23.9%)   India (2.1%)

*Data was unavailable
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

Political Highlights

 

The Kingdom of Lesotho (Lesotho) became members of the Commonwealth in 1966. It is a constitutional monarchy. The King’s functions are largely ceremonial. Motsoahae Thomas Thabane is the Prime Minister and acts as the Head of Government. The national legislature is a bicameral parliament comprises of a 120 members National Assembly with 80 members elected directly and 40 members elected by proportional representation, and a 33 non-elected member Senate with 22 traditional chiefs and 11 members whom are nominated by the King on the advice of the Prime Minister. The ruling coalition led by Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC), enjoys only a slim majority of three seats. The next general election is due in 2022.

 

Economic Trend

*Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Lesotho is a landlocked country that is entirely surrounded by South Africa. The Lesotho’s economy is mainly based on water sold to South Africa and exported diamonds. Other economic activities include manufacturing, preliminary in garment, agriculture, and livestock. Approximate half of the population earns a living through livestock or crop cultivation, while Lesotho also depends heavily on remittance from those working in South Africa. The economic growth in 2019-2020 will be constrained by a downturn in the mining sector, especially low price of diamond, and continued sluggish economic growth in South Africa, which Lesotho has close economic ties.

 

Hong Kong – Lesotho Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Lesotho increased by 14.0% from HK$72.9 million in 2017 to HK$83.2 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Lesotho were: (1) textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles, and related products (-15.0%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+507.7%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+14,141.1%), which represented 53.1% of total exports to Lesotho.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering buyers in Lesotho. In the past 12 months (December 2018 to November 2019), there was no insured business on Lesotho.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 9 December 2019

     
Flag and map of Maldives

 
Key Information
Capital   Male
Population   0.39 million
Area   298 sq km
Currency   Maldivian Rufiyaa (midpoint of exchange rate is 12.85 MVR per USD and the rate is permitted to fluctuate within a ±20% band)
Official language   Dhivehi
Form of government   Presidential Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 139 out of 190 in 2019 (↓3) 
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 86 out of 160 in 2018
Top three export markets (% of total, 2018)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2018)
Thailand (36.2%)   UAE (18.0%)
Germany (12.7%)   China (16.6%)
UK (9.2%)   Singapore (12.6%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

Political Highlights

 

The country is a presidential republic where the president is both head of government and head of state. The country has been in turmoil under the administration of Yameen, who made intense spending on infrastructure and ordered a state of emergency in February 2018 and jailed opponents across the legislative and judiciary. Meanwhile, Yameen lost surprisingly in his re-election bid in September 2019 and initially conceded defeat in June 2018. His only challenger, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), was elected as the President of the Maldives. The national legislature is a unicameral parliament with 87 members. In April 2019, Solih's MDP, which leads the governing coalition, secured a sweeping majority with 65 seats in the parliamentary election. The government will pursue policies designed to put the country's public finances back on a more sustainable footing after previous government intense spending. The next presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for September 2023 and April 2024 respectively.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Maldives is a small geographically dispersed archipelago island nation with limited natural resources. It is mainly reliant on tourism and fishing. The tourism sector accounts for nearly 25% of total GDP and its high-end tourism has propelled the economy’s strong expansion over recent decades. However, under the Yameen’s administration, the surge in infrastructure investment led to high and rising government debts. The continuous current account deficit was attributed to wide merchandise trade deficit mainly related to construction-related imports. In November 2019, Moody's affirmed Maldives' B2 sovereign rating and maintained the negative outlook. The rating affirmation reflects Maldives' competitive tourism sector and more stable political environment, balanced by the country’s weak institutional strength. The decision to maintain the negative outlook reflects the country's continued fiscal weaknesses and fragile external position that put pressure on macroeconomic stability
.

 

Hong Kong – Maldives Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Maldives increased by 54.3% from HK$113 million in 2017 to HK$175 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Maldives were: (1) office machines and automatic data processing machine (+1,802.9%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-4.6%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+22.2%), which represented 70.9% of total exports to Maldives.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering buyers in Maldives. In the past 12 months (from December 2018 to November 2019), there was no claim payment or payment difficulty case reported.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 9 December 2019

     
Flag and map of Comoros

 
Key Information
Capital   Moroni
Population   0.8 million
Area   2,235 sq km
Currency   Comorian Franc  (1 KMF = 0.00225 USD as of 22 November 2019)
Official language   Arabic, French and Shikomoro
Form of government   Federal Islamic Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 164 out of 190 in 2019 (↓6)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 107 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017*)
Cloves (21.6%)   Petrolem products (58.0%)
Ylang-ylang (8.3%)   Venicles and spare parts (38.3%)
Vanilla (4.1%)   Rice (29.9%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2018)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2018)
France (48.1%)   UAE (30.6%)
India (13.8%)   France (15.9%)
Germany (5.7%)   China (12.5%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

Political Highlights

 

Union of the Comoros (Comoros) is a Federal Islamic republic with its legal system based on the Napoleonic code and sharia (Islamic law). The president is the Head of State, directly elected by simple majority popular vote in 2 rounds for a 5-year term. In March 2019, Colonel Azali Assoumani was re-elected as president for a second consecutive term following a constitutional changes in 2018 that allowed for a renewable term. The country consists of three islands, Grande Comore, Anjouan and Moheli. Each island has their own parliament, while the country’s national legislature is a 33-members parliament with 24 members elected by direct universal suffrage and 9 members appointed by the three islands. The next legislative election is scheduled for 2020.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Comoros is one of the world’s smallest economies with few natural resources. France as the country’s former colonialist, remains as a key trading partner and bilateral donor. The country’s agriculture sector, including fishing, hunting, and forestry, accounts for about 50% of GDP and employs a majority of the working population. The economy was hit by Cyclone Kenneth in April 2019, causing widespread destruction, primarily on the agricultural sector. In July 2019, International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved an emergency financial assistance of about US$12.3mn for Comoros to facilitate rehabilitation. The economy is expected to pick up in 2020 as a result of recovery in agricultural sector, as well as a project funded by the African Development Bank for construction of new generators and the rehabilitation of thermal power plants that will spur the industrial and services sectors
.

 

Hong Kong – Comoros Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Comoros increased by 657.8% from HK$2.8 million in 2017 to HK$21.4 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Comoros were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+496.2%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (nil in last year), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (nil in last year), which represented 99.6% of total exports to Comoros.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering buyers in Comoros. In the past 12 months (December 2018 to November 2019), there was no insured business on Comoros.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 3 December 2019

     
Flag and map of Benin

 
Key Information
Capital   Porto-Novo
Population   11.3 million
Area   112,622 sq km
Currency   CFA franc (fixed to the euro at 1 EUR = 655.957 XAF)
Official language   French
Form of government   Unitary Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 153 out of 190 in 2019 (↓2)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 125 out of 141 in 2019 (↓2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 76 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017*)
Agricultural products (15.7%)   Agricultural products (44.2%)
Manufactured goods (4.4%)   Manufactured goods (32.5%)
Fuels and mining products (1.3%)   Fuels and mining products (17.2%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2018)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2018)
Bangladesh (7.7%)   Thailand (14.0%)
India (6.2%)   India (12.1%)
Vietnam (3.4%)   Togo (9.3%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), World Trade Organisation (WTO)

Political Highlights

 

Benin is a unitary republic. The president is the head of the state, elected by universal suffrage for a maximum of two terms. The national legislature is a national assembly with 83 seats, elected by universal suffrage for a four-year term. In 2018, President Patrice Talon strengthened his grap of power by co-opting with the Constitional Court to create a special court, that prosecute his political rivals and push forward his legislation. In addition, the country’s electoral commission declared that only two parties that were loyal to President Patrice Talon were eligible to contest seats in the National Assembly. These ultimately prompted a mass boycott of the election and in the end, less than 23% of all registered voters cast their ballots. The next presidential and legislative elections are scheduled for 2021 and 2024 respectivel.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Benin is a free market economy with cotton as its key export commodity. The economy grew by 6.7% in 2018 as a result of improved performance in agriculture, particularly in cotton, industrial sector, driven by cotton ginning plants, and building and public works sector. The country’s future growth will be underpinned by strong port activity, firm growth in agriculture and high private investment, as well as the lagged effect of recent large public investment in infrastructure. In November 2019, Nigeria, Niger and Benin agreed to set up a monitoring and patrol body to tackle smuggling, following months of border closure and dispute between the West African countries
.

 

Hong Kong – Benin Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Benin increased by 82% from HK$50.3 million in 2017 to HK$90.7 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to Benin were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+111.1%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+6.3%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+208.1%), which represented 89.7% of total exports to Benin.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering buyers in Benin. In the past 12 months (November 2018 to October 2019), there was no insured business on Benin.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 22 November 2019

     
Flag and map of Malaysia

 
Key Information
Capital   Kuala Lumpur
Population   31.8 million
Area   329,847 sq km
Currency   Malaysian Ringgit (1 MYR = 0.2409 USD as of 5 November 2019)
Official language   Bahasa Malaysia
Form of government   Federated Constitutional Monarchy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 15 out of 190 in 2019 (↑9)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 27 out of 141 in 2019 (↓2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 41 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2018)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2018)
Machinery & transport equipment (44.0%)   Machinery & transport equipment (43.4%)
Mineral fuels (15.6%)   Manufactured goods (11.7%)
Manufactured goods (9.2%)   Chemicals (10.8%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2018)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2018)
Singapore (13.9%)   China (19.9%)
China (13.9%)   Singapore (11.7%)
US (9.1%)   US (7.2%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

Political Highlights

 

Malaysia is a constitutional monarch. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong (or the King) is the Head of State, while the king is elected by the rulers of the country’s nine states, who take turns in serving five-year terms. Pahang's Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin, was installed as Malaysia's 16th Malaysian King on 30 July 2019. In May 2018, current prime minister Mahathir Mohamad and his four parties’ alliance Pakatan Harapan (PH) won a historic victory in national elections over Barisan Nasional (BN)  that has ruled the country for six decades. The national legislature is a bicameral deferral parliament comprise of 222 directly elected members in the House of Representatives (Dewan Rakyat, the lower house) and 70 members in the Senate (Dewan Negara, the upper house) with 26 elected from the state legislatures and 44 appointed by the king. The government has made its priority to cut the country’s debts and pledged to lower the cost of living by replacing the goods and services tax with a sales and services tax, subsidies applied to certain fuel types and the minimum wage is set to rise. The next general election is scheduled for 2023

.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Malaysia is the third largest economy in Southeast Asia. It is an export-orientated economy with exports accounting for roughly 70% of GDP. Major exports include electrical and electronics products, chemicals, machinery, appliances and manufactured metals. In terms of natural resources, Malaysia exports crude oil, liquefied natural gas, palm oil and natural rubber. The economy slowed down in 2018 due to subdued demand for the country’s largest export of electronic and electrical goods, amid US-China trade tension. Meanwhile, years of current account surplus worked as a buffer to unexpected shocks in global financial market. In July 2019, S&P affirmed Malaysia’s issuer credit rating at “A-“ with a stable outlook. The rating reflects the country's strong institutional profile, sound economic fundamentals and prudent debt management. The affirmation also shows that the increase in government’s direct debt does not affect Malaysia’s sovereign credit ratings, especially when the government’s overall debt and liabilities have been reduced
.

 

Hong Kong – Malaysia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Malaysia increased by 22.3% from HK$28.7 billion in 2017 to HK$35.1 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to Malaysia were: (1) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+20.1%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+25.7%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+13.2%), which represented 67.6% of total exports to Malaysia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering buyers in Malaysia. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications on Malaysia decreased by 8.1% and increased by 13.9% respectively, and insured business decreased by 41.6%. Major insured products were electronics, plastic articles, chemical productswhich represented 56.5% of HKECIC’s insured business on Malaysia. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Malaysia has been satisfactory, with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported in the past 12 months (November 2018 to October 2019).

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 6 November 2019

     
Flag and map of Thailand

 
Key Information
Capital   Bangkok
Population   68.6 million
Area   513,120 sq km
Currency   Thai Baht (1 THB = 0.03313 USD as of 31 October 2019)
Official language   Thai
Form of government   Constitutional Monarchy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 27 out of 190 in 2019 (↓1)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 40 out of 141 in 2019 (↓2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 32 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2018)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2018)
Machinery (44.0%)   Machinery (34.8%)
Food (12.5%)   Manufactured goods (17.3%)
Manufactured goods (12.6%)   Minerals, fuels & lubricants (16.6%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2018)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2018)
China (11.9%)   China (19.6%)
USA (11.1%)   Japan (14.1%)
Japan (9.9%)   USA (6.6%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

Political Highlights

 

Thailand is a constitutional monarchy. King Maha Vajiralongkorn, officially known as King Rama X, was officially crowned in May 2019, almost three years after the death of his father King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Thailand is currently run by a military government headed by former army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha, who serves as prime minister. The national legislature is a bicameral parliament comprise of a 250-seat Senate (upper house) and a 500-seat House of Representatives (lower house) consisting 350 constituency seats and 150 party-list seats, elected democratically. In an effort to boost the country’s economic performance, the government will continue to focus on improving investment environment and pursue the public-investment drive in infrastructure.

 

Economic Trend

*Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Thailand is the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia, with export and tourism sectors together generating more than a fifth of total GDP. Economic growth accelerated since 2014 bolstered by favorable global economic conditions and a pickup in domestic investment. The country’s sustained current account surpluses and higher capital inflows over the past several years have driven an appreciation of the Thai baht and facilitated the accumulation of foreign reserves. Meanwhile, the strong currency comparing to other Asian countries has hurt the competitiveness of the country’s exports. Economic growth in 2019 is expected to slow down following a drought that affected the farming sector, as well as slowing exports. In August 2019, the government announced a US$10 billion economic stimulus package after the country reported that its economy grew just 2.3% in Q2 2019, the slowest rate in nearly five years. In July 2019, Moody’s affirmed Thailand’s Baa1 issuer and senior unsecured ratings and changed the outlook to positive from stable. The positive outlook is supported by Moody's view that, as Thailand's track record of macroeconomic stability lengthens, the government's investment in physical and human capital may raise the economy's competitiveness. This would help offset the drag on Thailand's growth potential from skills gaps and an ageing population

.

 

Hong Kong – Thailand Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Thailand increased by 11.9% from HK$54.1 billion in 2017 to HK$60.6 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to Thailand were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+23.0%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+11.3%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+9.8%), which represented 63.0% of total exports to Thailand.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering buyers in Thailand. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications on Thailand increased by 34.4% and 62.1% respectively, while insured business decreased by 19.3%. Major insured products were electronics, furniture and cameras & optical goods, which represented 68.6% of HKECIC’s insured business on Thailand. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Thailand has been satisfactory, with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported in the past 12 months (November 2018 to October 2019).

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 4 November 2019

     
Flag and map of Vietnam

 
Key Information
Capital   Hanoi
Population   97.0 million
Area   331,210 sq km
Currency   Dong (1 VND = 0.00004307 USD as of 15 Oct 2019)
Official language   Vietnamese
Form of government   One-party Rule
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 69 out of 190 in 2019 (↓1)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 67 out of 141 in 2019 (↑10)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 39 out of 160 in 2018
 
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2017*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2017*)
Manufactured goods (81.8%)   Manufactured goods (80.6%)
Agricultural products (13.8%)   Agricultural products (10.7%)
Fuels and mining products (3.0%)   Fuels and mining products (7.0%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2018)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2018)
USA (19.7%)   China (28.3%)
China (17.3%)   South Korea (20.6%)
Japan (7.9%)   Japan (8.3%)

* Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Vietnam is a one-party socialist republic. The ruling Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) has been in power since the end of the Vietnam war in 1975. The president is the head of the state. CVP General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong took the role of president in September 2018, following the death of former President Tran Dai Quang, making him the first person to hold both titles since the nation’s founder Ho Chi Minh in the 1960s. The national legislature is a unicameral National Assembly with 500 members typically serves a five-year term. The country has in recent years stepped up its fight against corruption with several senior government officials and executives of state-owned enterprises arrested and jailed.  Vietnam,ranked 117th amongst 180 countries and territories in 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) by Transparency International. On a diplomatic front, Vietnam has long-standing territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea which are unlikely to be resolved in near term.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)


Vietnam successfully positioned itself as the main low-cost regional alternative to China for export-orientated manufacturing. The country’ competitive unit labor costs relative to peers (Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia) attracted strong foreign direct investments in the manufacturing industry. The country’s economic growth accelerated to 7.1% in 2018, benefitted from higher domestic demand, strong export growth and economic reforms. Vietnam is expected to remain one of the fastest-growing ASEAN economies and a regional outperformer for exports given the ongoing US-China trade conflict that have accelerated the shift of production from China to Vietnam
.

 

Hong Kong – Vietnam Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Vietnam increased by 4.5% from HK$79.6 billion in 2017 to HK$83.2 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to Vietnam were: (1) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+21.3%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-25.3%), and (3) textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles, and related products (-1.5%), which represented 47.8% of total exports to Vietnam.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering buyers in Vietnam. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications on Vietnam decreased by 13.6% and 9.8% respectively, and insured business decreased by 4.9%. Major insured products were electronics, electrical appliance and textiles, which represented 74.1% of HKECIC’s insured business on Vietnam. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Vietnam has been satisfactory, with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported in the past 12 months (October 2018 to September 2019).

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 15 October 2019

       


 
Key Information
Capital   Phnom Penh
Population   16.2 million
Area   81,035 sq km
Currency   Cambodian Riel (1 KHR = 0.000244 USD as of 14 Oct 2019)
Official language   Khmer
Form of government   Constitutional Monarchy
Ease of doing business (2018) by World Bank   # 138 out of 190 in 2019 (↓3)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 106 out of 141 in 2019 (↑4)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 98 out of 160 in 2018
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2017*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2017*)
Manufactured goods (92.6%)   Manufactured goods (70.8%)
Agricultural products (6.5%)   Fuels and mining products (10.6%)
Fuels and mining products (0.2%)   Agricultural products (8.1%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2018)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2018)
USA (21.9%)   China (37.0%)
Japan (7.7%)   Singapore (16.0%)
China (7.6%)   Thailand (14.6%)

* Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), World Trade Organisation (WTO)

Political Highlights

 

Cambodia is a constitutional monarchy. The King is the Head of the State and Prime Minister is the Head of Government. The national legislature is a bicameral parliament consists of 125-seat National Assembly (lower house) and 62-seat Senate (upper house). Prime Minister Hun Sen has been ruling Cambodia since 1985 and his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) maintains firm grip of power. The Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), the main opposition party, has been dissolved by the Supreme Court in November 2017 for allegedly plotting to overthrow Hun Sen’s government. In February 2018, the CPP swept the country’s Senate election by winning all 58 elected seats, further entrenching the dominance of the CPP. In the July 2018 general election, the CPP secured all of the seats in the lower house. Hun Sen and CPP’s political scene remained unimped. Hun Sen expressed his desire to remain in power at least until the 2028 election. The next general election is due to be held in 2023.

.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Since the late 1990s, Cambodia’s open door policy to investors and structural support from the international community have led to economic expansion of roughly 7% per annum. Economic growth has been driven by garments and footwear exports, tourism as well as real estate and construction activities. The Cambodian monthly minimum wage in the garment sector has surged from US$140 in Janurary 2016 to US$182 in Janurary 2019, and is set to rise to US$190 from Janurary 2020. Though there was a declining competitiveness in the garment industry, the country’s economic growth will remain relatively robust, averaging 6.3% a year in 2020-24. In October 2019, Moody’s affirmed Cambodia’s long-term issuer rating at B2 and maintained its stable outlook. The rating is supported by its robust GDP growth prospects, modest and highly affordable government debt, and low external vulnerabilities. Meanwhile, slowing growth in China could also present spillover risks for Cambodia, due to its deep economic and financial linkages with the country.

.

 

Hong Kong – Cambodia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Cambodia increased by 5.9% from HK$7.1 billion in 2017 to HK$7.6 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to Cambodia were: (1) textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles, and related products (+1.9%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-9.2%), and (3) articles of apparel and clothing accessories (-6.6%), which represented 62.4% of total exports to Cambodia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Cambodia buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from October 2018 to September 2019), there was no insured business on Cambodia.

 
Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 14 October 2019

Flag and map of Singapore

 
Key Information
Capital   Singapore City
Population   5.6 million
Area   719 sq km
Currency   Singapore dollar (1 USD = 1.3817 SGD as of 4 October 2019)
Official language   Mandarin, English, Malay and Tamil
Form of government   Parliamentary Democracy
Ease of doing business (2018) by World Bank   # 2 out of 190 in 2019 (-)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 2 out of 140 in 2018 (-)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 7 out of 160 in 2018
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2018)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2018)
Machinery & transport equipment (47.5%)   Machinery & transport equipment (46.2%)
Mineral fuels (18.6%)   Mineral fuels (23.8%)
Chemicals & chemical products (14.3%)   Chemicals & chemical products (8.1%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2018)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2018)
China (12.3%)   China (13.4%)
Hong Kong (11.8%)   Malaysia (11.6%)
Malaysia (10.9%)   U.S. (11.4%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), World Trade Organisation (WTO)

Political Highlights

 

Singapore is parliamentary democracy, with an elective, non-executive presidency. The president, PAP-endorsed candidate Halimah Yacob, was elected for a six-year term in September 2017. The Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is the leader of the majority People's Action Party (PAP) in parliament. The governing PAP has been in power since 1959 and is currently preparing for a leadership transition, which involves younger leaders from the fourth generation taking over central positions in the party and government. The legislature is a unicameral parliament consisting of 89 elected members. 13 members of parliament (MPs) are directly elected from single-member constituencies, and 76 are elected in teams of 4-6 to represent the 15 group-representation constituencies. The next general election is scheduled for January 2021, and the next presidential election is scheduled for 2023.

.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate *Forecast 
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Singapore is one of the world’s most business-friendly regulatory environment and is ranked among the world’s most competitive economies. Its strategic location between the East and West make it one of the world’s top transportation hubs for sea and air cargo. In the decades after independence in 1965, Singapore rapidly developed from a low-income country to a high-income country. The overall growth of the Singapore economy was 3.2% in 2018. Value-added manufacturing, particularly in the electronics and precision engineering sectors, remain key drivers of growth, as are the services sector, particularly the information and communications industries, and the finance & insurance industries. In August 2019, Fitch has affirmed Singapore's long-term foreign-currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'AAA' with a stable outlook. The rating reflects its exceptionally strong external and fiscal balance sheets, high per capita income, favorable business environment and sound macroeconomic policy framework.

.

 

Hong Kong – Singapore Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Singapore increased by 13.3% from HK$61.0 billion in 2017 to HK$69.2 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to Singapore were: (1) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+12.3%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+14.6%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+18.4%), which represented 61.8% of total exports to Singapore.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

ECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Singaporean buyers. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications on Singapore decreased 8.2% and increased 3.0% respectively, while insured business increased by 52.4%. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Singapore has been satisfactory, with no claim payment or payment difficulty case recorded during the past 12 months (from October 2018 to September 2019).

 
Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 4 October 2019

Flag and map of Mali

 
Key Information
Capital   Bamako
Population   17.3 million
Area   1,240,190 sq km
Currency   CFA franc (pegged to the Euro at 1 EUR = 656 XAF)
Official language   French, Bambara, Fulfuldé, Songhai and Tamasheq
Form of government   Unitary republic
Ease of doing business (2018) by World Bank   # 145 out of 190 in 2019 (↓2)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 125 out of 140 in 2018 (↓4)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 96 out of 160 in 2018
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2017*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2017*)
Agricultural products (16.8%)   Manufactures (47.8%)
Manufactures (8.1%)   Agricultural products (15.0%)
Fuels and mining products (0.4%)   Fuels and mining products (11.5%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2018)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2018)
Switzerland (44.2%)   Senegal (19.7%)
South Africa (25.3%)   China (16.2%)
Bangladesh (8.9%)   Côte d'Ivoire (10.8%)

* Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), World Trade Organisation (WTO)

Political Highlights

 

Mali has been experiencing instability and conflict since the military coup in 2012. These events were followed by the deployment of French-led military forces in January 2013, which handed over to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in July 2014. President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, first elected in 2013, was re-elected for a second term in August 2018. However, anti-government sentiment has been increasing following a rise in interethnic violence between Fulani pastoralists and farming communities. The difficult security situation impacts millions of Malians, weighing on economic activity and development prospects. In September 2019, to help strengthen the resiliency of the economy, the IMF has approved financial assistance of about US$ 200 million to the country under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF).

.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate *Forecast 
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Mali is a vast and landlocked country. It is also a low-income country with an undiversified economy that is vulnerable to raw material price fluctuations. Despite the difficult security situation, the Malian economy has performed reasonably well in recent years, with real annual GDP growth averaging about 5% and inflation was contained. However, with the population expanding by about 3% annually, GDP per capita growth has been modest. In February 2019, Moody's has assigned its first-time local and foreign currency issuer ratings of B3 to the Government of Mali with a stable rating outlook. The rating reflects Mali’s very low income levels and limited diversification weigh on economic strength, while the economy continues to benefit from international financial support, in place since the political and security crisis in 2012.

.

 

Hong Kong – Mali Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Mali decreased by 22.8% from HK$226 million in 2017 to HK$175 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Mali were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-21.3%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-33.2%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (-54.0%), which represented 96.3% of total exports to Mali.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Mali buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC), with the exception of those under sanctions. In the past 12 months (from October 2018 to September 2019), there was no insured business on Mali.

 
Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 3 October 2019

    
Flag and map of Austria

 
Key Information
Capital   Vienna
Population   8.8 million
Area   83,871 sq km
Currency   Euro (1 EUR = 1.09423 USD as of 30 September 2019)
Official language   German
Form of government   Parliamentary Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 26 out of 190 in 2019 (↓4)  
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 22 out of 140 in 2018 (↓1)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 4 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2018)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2018)
Machinery & transport equipment (40.9%)   Machinery & transport equipment (36.6%)
Chemicals & related products (12.9%)   Chemicals & related products (13.1%)
Food, drinks & tobacco (7.2%   Mineral fuels, lubricants & related materials (7.8%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2018)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2018)
Germany (29.5%)   Germany (40.9%)
Italy (6.4%)   Italy (6.0%)
USA (6.3%)   Switzerland (4.7%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Austria is a parliamentary republic. The president is the head of the state, directly elected for a maximum of two six-year terms. Federal chancellor is the head of government appointed by the president. The national legislature is a bicameral parliament consisting of the National Council (lower house) with 183 members and the Federal Council (upper house) with 62 members. Former federal chancellor, Sebastian Kurz and his right-wing coalition government defeated by a motion of no-confidence in May 2019, as his coalition partner, the Freedom Party, became embroiled in a corruption scandal. An early general election was held in September 2019 and Kurz’s conservative Austrian People's Party won 71 out of 183 seats in parliament. Kurz will resume his job as Austria’s chancellor, but he will need coalition partners to form a new government.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)


Austria is an export-oriented country and its trade relations are dominated by Germany, which accounted for about a third of total imports and exports. The country is among the most advanced countries in the world in terms of its telecommunications and internet infrastructure. The economy reported a robust growth in 2016-18 but growth is expected to decelerate in 2019 owing to weaker German economy and sluggish trade growth. Meanwhile, the country has reported current account surpluses since 2002 and its GDP per capita is one of the highest in the European Union (EU). In May 2019, Fitch affirmed Austria's long-term foreign-currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'AA+' with a positive outlook. Austria's 'AA+' rating is supported by a rich, diversified, open, high-value-added economy with strong political and social institutions.

Hong Kong – Austria Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Austria increased by 26.3% from HK$5.03 billion in 2017 to HK$6.35 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to Austria were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+75.1%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+16.4%), and (3) articles of apparel and clothing accessories (+0.6%), which represented 71.7% of total exports to Austria.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Austria buyers. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications on Austria was unchanged and increased 162.3% respectively, while insured business decreased by 7.2%. Major insured products were chemical products, clothing and electronics, which represented 53.0% of HKECIC’s insured business on Austria. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Austria has been satisfactory, with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported in the past 12 months  (September 2018 to August 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 30 September 2019      



 
Key Information
Capital   Bucharest
Population   21.5 million
Area   238,391 sq km
Currency   Romanian leu (1 RON = 0.2326 USD as of 17 Sep 2019)
Official language   Romanian
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 52 out of 190 in 2019 (↓7)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 52 out of 140 in 2018 (-)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 48 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017*)
Machinery & equipment (46.2%)   Machinery & equipment (37.3%)
Base metals & products (8.5%)   Chemicals & products (9.8%)
Textiles & products (6.4%)   Minerals & fuels (7.1%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2018)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2018)
EU (76.7%)   EU (74.6%)
Turkey (2.9%)   China (5.3%)
USA (2.0%)   Turkey (4.4%)

* Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), World Trade Organization (WTO)

Political Highlights

 

Romania is a parliamentary republic. The president is the head of the state elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term. With the promise to strengthen the independence of judicial system and tackle corruption, Klaus Iohannis from the National Liberal Party (NLP) won the presidential election in 2014. However, Centre-left Social Democratic Party (PSD) and coalition partner Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) are the main parliamentary and governing party and it won the parliamentary elections in 2016. There were waves of anti-government protests in between 2017-19, on reforming the judicial laws and criminal codes proposed by PSD and voted in the Parliament, that weakens the effectiveness and independence of the judiciary. After two PSD-backed Prime Ministers stepped down in one year, the President appointed Viorica Dancila, who also ties with PSD, as prime minister in January 2018, but the political and social environment remained tense. Romania joined the EU on 1 Janurary 2007 but it is not yet a member of the euro area. The government has targeted to adopt the euro by 2024 once it fulfils the necessary conditions in public finances, price stability, exchange rate & long-term interest rate criteria, and compatible legislation. The next presidential election will be held in November 2019 while the next parliamentary election will be held at the end of 2020.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate  
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)


Romania is one of the largest domestic markets in east-central Europe. Supported by an increase in agricultural production, the country has achieved two major targets in 2018 with GDP increased by 4.1% to EUR 202 billion and GDP per capita equivalent to more than EUR10,000. The country becomes EU’s 15th  largest economy that overtaking Portugal for the first time in decades. Romania has undertaken a strong fiscal consolidation and reduced its macroeconomic imbalances since 2010. Following years of austerity measures, the country has relaxed its fiscal policy. In May 2019, Fitch affirmed Romania’s long-term foreign and local currency issuer default ratings at “BBB-“with stable outlook. The affirmation reflects the country’s moderate levels of government debt., and GDP per capita and human development indicators were above 'BBB' category peers. There are balanced against twin budget and current accounts deficits, net external indebtedness that was higher than its rating peers and pro-cyclical fiscal policy that poses risks to macroeconomic stability.

Hong Kong – Romania Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Romania increased by 14.7% from HK$3,258 million in 2017 to HK$3,736 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Romania were: (1) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+19.5%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+12.5%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-89.8%), which represented 85.0% of total exports to Romania.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Romania buyers. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications on Romania decreased 57.8% and 55.0% respectively, while insured business increased by 27.8%. Major insured products were electronics, jewellery and electrical appliances, which represented 80.0% of HKECIC’s insured business on Romania. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Romania has been satisfactory, with one payment difficulty case reported in the past 12 months (September 2018 to August 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 17 September 2019

            
Flag and map of Iran

 
Key Information
Capital   Tehran
Population   83.0 million
Area   1,648,195 sq km
Currency   Rial (1 USD = 42,143 IRR as of 28 Aug 2019)
Official language   Persian
Form of government   Islamic Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 128 out of 190 in 2019 (↓4) 
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 89 out of 140 in 2018 (↓1)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 64 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2018)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2018)
Oil & gas (67.1%)   Machinery (25.9%)
Chemicals & petrochemicals (9.1%)   Intermediate goods (13.6%)
Fresh & dry fruits (2.5%)   Chemicals (12.8%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2018)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2018)
China (29.0%)   China (22.1%)
India (19.5%)   UAE (16.1%)
Turkey (9.1%)   Germany (6.6%)

* Most recent data available 
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

Political Highlights

 

Iran is a theocratic country that mixes religion with politics. According to its constitution, its laws and regulations must be based on Islamic criteria. The supreme leader, who has no fixed terms, exerts ideological and political control over a system dominated by clerics. The current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was chosen by a directly elected body of religious leaders, the Assembly of Experts, in 1989. The president is the head of the state and the country’s second-highest-ranking official, elected by universal suffrage for four years term for a maximum of two terms. Hassan Rouhani was elected as president in June 2013 and subsequently won a second four-year term in the May 2017 election. Rouhani’s position has weakened following the US's withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May 2018, the nuclear deal agreed between Iran and world powers in 2015. The next legislative election will take place in 2020, followed by a presidential poll in 2021.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)


Iran has the second largest economy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region after Saudi Arabia; and the second largest population after Egypt. Its economy is characterized by a large hydrocarbon sector, small scale agriculture and services sectors, and a noticeable state presence in manufacturing and financial services. The economy slid into a recession in 2018-19 in the wake of the US decision to withdraw from JCPOA and followed by reintroduction of US sanctions in November 2018. According to the World Bank, in the medium term, the economy is set to experience a downward trajectory as oil exports are expected to fall. The elevated tensions between the US and Iran have raised the prospect of disruptions to oil and gas shipments in the Gulf region. Meanwhile, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) mitigated the decline in Iran's production through ramping up output within existing quotas or redistribution of quotas.

Hong Kong – Iran Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Iran increased by 0.5% from HK$1.80 billion in 2017 to HK$1.81 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to Iran were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+16.3%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (-33.0%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+44.9%), which represented 76.0% of total exports to Iran.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Iran buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC), with the exception of those under sanctions. In the past 12 months (from September 2018 to August 2019), there was no insured business on Iran.


Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 1 September 2019

            
Flag and map of Lithuania

 
Key Information
Capital   Vilnius
Population   3.2 million
Area   65,300 sq km
Currency   Euro (1 EUR = 1.11972 USD as of 9 August 2019)
Official language   Lithuanian
Form of government   Republic
Ease of doing business (2018) by World Bank   # 14 out of 190 in 2019 (↑2)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 40 out of 140 in 2018 (↓2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 54 out of 160 in 2018
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2018)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2018)
Machinery & equipment (15.2%)   Mineral products (21.0%)
Mineral products (15.1%)   Machinery & equipment (17.3%)
Transport equipment (5.0%)   Chemicals (11.6%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2018)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2018)
Russia (14.0%)   Russia (14.7%)
Latvia (9.7%)   Poland (11.9%)
Germany (8.2%)   Germany (11.3%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Lithuania gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1990. The president, directly elected for a five-year team by universal suffrage, is the head of state. The president appoints the prime minister who serves as the head of the government and nominates the rest of the ministerial cabinet. Lithuania's former central banker, Gitanas Nauseda, sworn-in as President in July 2019. The legislature is a unicameral parliament, the Seimas, with 141 members elected for a four-year team. After the general election held in October 2016, the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LVZS) and the Social Democratic Party (LSDP) formed a coalition government. However, the LSDP pulled out from the government in September 2017, leaving the LVZS-nominated prime minister Saulius Skvernelis to in charge of a minority administration. In July 2019, the LVZS signed a new coalition agreement with three other parties. The government coalition now has a majority in the Seimas. The next parliamentary election is scheduled for October 2020.

 

 

Economic Trend

 * Estimate ^ Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Lithuania is one of the Baltic states, along with Latvia and Estonia. It became a member of the euro zone in January 2015. The economy was benefited from increasing trade integration as well as diversification of its export markets away from Russia. Economic growth expanded by 3.5% in 2018, supported by a strong contribution in net exports and private consumption growth. Remarkably, the Lithuania’s government has achieved a higher fiscal surplus for the third year in a row. However, growth over the next few years is expected be constrained by the moderating labor supply and decelerating exports, according to the IMF. In February 2019, Standard & Poor’s affirmed its long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Lithuania at ‘A/A-1' with a stable outlook. The ratings were supported by the relatively resilient institutions, a sound medium-term growth outlook, strong external profile, moderate general government debt, and the country's euro zone membership.

.

 

Hong Kong – Lithuania Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Lithuania increased by 64.8% from HK$ 1,138 million in 2017 to HK$ 1,876 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Lithuania were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+110.6%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+23.8%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+2.5%), which represented 89.6% of total exports to Lithuania.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering buyers in Lithuania. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications decreased by 26.3% and increased by 9.2% respectively, while insured business increased by 30.1%. Major insured products were electronics, clothing and printed matters, which represented 84.0% of HKECIC’s insured business on Lithuania. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Lithuania has been satisfactory, with no claim payment or payment difficulty case reported during the past 12 months (from September 2018 to August 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 1 September 2019

     
Flag and map of Cyprus

 
Key Information
Capital   Nicosia
Population   0.9 million
Area   9,251 sq km
Currency   Euro (1 EUR = 1.11463 USD as of 31 May 2019)
Official language   Greek, Turkish
Form of government   Presidential Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 57 out of 190 in 2019 (↓4)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 44 out of 140 in 2018 (↓1)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 45 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017*)
Industrial products of mineral origin (36.8%)   Transport equipment (36.0%)
Manufactured goods (35.1%)   Consumer goods (26.5%)
Processed agricultural products (18.5%)   Intermediate goods (19.9%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2018)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2018)
Libya (8.7%)   Greece (17.8%)
Greece (6.3%)   Italy (8.3%)
Norway (5.4%)   United Kingdom (6.5%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

The island of Cyprus was occupied by Britain in 1878 and became a British colony in 1925. Cyprus became an independent nation in 1960, which is recognized by the international community. Turkish Cypriots established an independent administration on the northern part of the country in 1975 and declared the formation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) in 1983, which was recognized only by Turkey.

Cyprus is a unitary republic where the president, elected for a five-year term, is both the head of state and chief of government. Current president, Nicos Anastasiades of the Democratic Rally, has been in power since 2013 and was re-elected for a second term in 2018. The country has a unicameral parliamentary system with 80 seats in the House of Representatives. In the parliamentary election held in May 2016, the Democratic Rally won the largest number of seats. The next parliamentary election is due in May 2021.

 

Economic Trend

* Estimate ^ Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


The economy of Cyprus relies on the services sector and is highly vulnerable to external shocks. The economy fell into recession in 2009 amid the global financial crisis, and subsequently requested an economic bailout programme from the European Commission, European Central Bank and the IMF in July 2012. Following its exit from the international bailout programme in March 2016, the country regained access to international financial markets. The economy grew by 3.9% in 2018, driven by tourism, professional services and foreign investment in construction as well as continued strength in private consumption. The IMF viewed that, over the medium term, Cyprus’s economic growth is projected to slow to its long-run potential rate of around 2.5%, as the transitory effects of the investment boom gradually dissipate.

Hong Kong – Cyprus Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Cyprus decreased by 68.0% from HK$803 million in 2017 to HK$257 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Cyprus were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+51.5%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+59.9%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (+28.8%), which represented 77.7% of total exports to Cyprus.

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering buyers in Cyprus. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications increased by 70.0% and decreased by 56.1% respectively, while insured business increased by 120.8%. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Cyprus has been satisfactory, with no claim payment or payment difficulty case reported during the past 12 months (August 2018 to July 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 28 August 2019

            
Flag and map of Turkey

 
Key Information
Capital   Ankara
Population   81.3 million
Area   783,562 sq km
Currency   Turkish lira (1 TRY = 0.1788 USD as of 15 August 2019)
Official language   Turkish
Form of government   Presidential Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 43 out of 190 in 2019 (↑17) 
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 61 out of 140 in 2018 (↓3)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 83 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2018)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2018)
Textiles & clothing (16.3%)   Fuels (19.3%)
Transport equipment (18.2%)   Chemicals (15.0%)
Agro-industry (10.3%)   Mechinery (8.5%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2018)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2018)
Germany (9.6%)   Russia (9.9%)
UK (6.6%)   China (9.3%)
Italy (5.7%)   Germany (9.1%))

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

Political Highlights

 

Turkey has shifted the political system from a parliamentary to a presidential system in 2018. Recep Tayyip Erdogan was re-elected as president in June 2018 to a new five-year term. The national legislature is a unicameral meclis (parliament) consisting of 600 members directly elected for a five-year term. Justice and Development Party (AKP) lead by Erdogan came into power since 2002 and secured a coliation majority with the right-wing Nationalist Action Party (MHP) in June 2018. However, in the local election, AKP lose control of Turkey’s two biggest cities, the capital Ankara in March 2019 and its commercial hub of Istanbul in June 2019. The next parliamentary and presidential elections are due to be held in June 2023. On the diplomatic front, tensions between the US and Turkey is also deepening amid a delivery of the S-400 missile defense system by Russia.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)


Turkish economy decelerated sharply from 7.3% in 2017 to 2.8% in 2018, following the currency crisis in August 2018. In 2018, the currency lost about 40% of its value. For years, Erdogan adopted his financial theory of lowering borrowing costs that made the country overheated. In July 2019, Erdogan replaced the central bank governor after he failed to follow orders to lower interest rates. In July 2019, Fitch downgraded Turkey’s long-term debt rating from BB to BB- with a negative outlook. The downgrade reflects the removal of its central bank governor highlights a deterioration in institutional independence and economic policy coherence and credibility, jeopardising the inflow of foreign capital needed to meet Turkey’s large external financing requirement and worsening economic outcomes.

Hong Kong – Turkey Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Turkey increased by 3.3% from HK$7.50 billion in 2017 to HK$7.75 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to Turkey were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+26.1%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (-13.3%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-39.6%), which represented 70.3% of total exports to Turkey.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Turkey buyers. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications on Turkey increased 12.4% and decreased 15.0% respectively, and insured business decreased by 12.9%. Major insured products were electronics, electrical appliances and chemical products, which represented 82.4% of HKECIC’s insured business on Turkey. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Turkey has been satisfactory with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported during the past 12 months (from August 2018 to July 2019).

 

Please click here download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 15 August 2019       

Flag and map of North Macedonia

 
Key Information
Capital   Skopje
Population   2.1 million
Area   25,713 sq km
Currency   Macedonian Denar (1 MKD = 0.0182 USD as of 7 August 2019)
Official language   Macedonian
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 10 out of 190 in 2019 (↓1) 
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 84 out of 140 in 2018 (-)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 81 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017*)
Manufactured goods (82.3%)   Manufactured goods (63.2%)
Agricultural products (10.8%)   Fuels and mining products (25.0)
Fuels and mining products (6.8%)   Agricultural products (11.7%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2018)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2018)
European Union (82.1%)   European Union (62.4%)
Serbia (7.9%)   Serbia (7.1%)
Bosnia and Herzegovina (1.4%)   China (5.8%)

*Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU),
 World Trade Organization (WTO)

Political Highlights

 

Republic of North Macedonia (North Macedonia) is a parliamentary republic. Stevo Pendarovski won the presidential runoff in May 2019 supported by the governing coalition of Social Democratic Union Party (SDSM) and Democratic Union for Integration (DUI). The national legislature is a unicameral assembly (Sobraine). The coalition government, led by the SDSM comprises of most ethnic Albanian members of parliament (MPs), giving it a 68-seat majority in the 120-seat parliament. The country’s former name “Macedonia” hindered its accession to the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as Greek objection to Macedonia’s name. Greek insisting it implies territorial claim on the northern Greek province of the same name. In June 2018, the two countries announced their agreement, whereby Macedonia would change its constitutional name to the Republic of North Macedonia in exchange for Greece unblocking North Macedonia's EU and NATO accession. The top agenda for the government included securing NATO and EU accession, increasing social transfers and improving the transparency of the public finances. The next parliamentary and presidential elections are due to be held in 2020 and 2024 respectively.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

North Macedonia has a small open economy which is closely linked to Europe as a major export market and source of investment. Driven by German demand and increase in manufacturing capacity, the country’s trade deficit has narrowed markedly from 28.7% of GDP in 2008 to 16.2% in 2018. However, economic growth slowed in 2018 amid lower global demand. In June 2019, Fitch has upgraded North Macedonia's long-term foreign and local-currency ratings Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) to 'BB+' from 'BB' with stable outlook. The upgrade reflects the country’s improved governance standards and reforms in the country that facilitated further progress towards NATO membership and the opening of EU accession negotiations, which support investor confidence and act as policy anchors for sustained reform and macroeconomic stability.


Hong Kong – North Macedonia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to North Macedonia increased by 2.8% from HK$145 million in 2017 to HK$149 million in 2018. The top three export categories to North Macedonia were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+17.4%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-57.7%), and (3) photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies and optical goods; watches and clocks (-9.3%), which represented 91.2% of total exports to North Macedonia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on North Macedonia buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from August 2018 to July 2019), there was no insured business on North Macedonia.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

Last update: 7 August 2019

 

            
Flag and map of Latvia

 
Key Information
Capital   Riga
Population   1.9 million
Area   64,589 sq km
Currency   Euro (1 EUR = 1.12551 USD as of 19 July 2019)
Official language   Latvian
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 19 out of 190 in 2019 (-)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 42 out of 140 in 2018 (-)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 70 out of 160 in 2018
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2018)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2018)
Wood & articles of wood (15.6%)   Machinery & equipment (20.5%)
Machinery & equipment (14.1%)   Agriculture & food products (16.3%)
Agriculture & food products (10.9%)   Chemicals (9.8%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2018)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2018)
Lithuania (16.4%)   Lithuania (18.7%)
Russia (15.1%)   Germany (12.3%)
Estonia (11.8%)   Poland (9.6%)

Sources: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) 

Political Highlights

 

Latvia is a parliamentary republic. The president is the head of state and is elected by the Saeima (parliament) for a period of four years and a maximum of two consecutive terms. In May 2019, Egils Levits was elected by the Saeima as the country’s new president.  He is a judge of the European Court of Justice.  The president holds a largely ceremonial post and appoints the prime minister and ambassadors. The legislature is the 100-seat unicameral Saeima, which sits for a four-year term and is elected by proportional representation through party lists. The next legislative election due in 2022.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate *Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Latvia has one of the smallest economies among the eight central and eastern European countries that joined the European Union (EU) in 2004. Latvia's economic growth reached 4.6% and 4.8% in 2017 and 2018 respectively, led by a pick-up of private investment along with a boom in EU-funded construction and strong growth in IT and communications. Latvia has one of the lowest debt-to-GDP ratios in the EU as well as generally contained budget deficits. In May 2019, Moody’s affirmed Latvia's long-term issuer ratings at A3 with a stable outlook. The affirmation reflects the country’s low and declining levels of government debt, strong growth performance through the economic cycle and moderate susceptibility to geopolitical risks. Moody’s expect GDP growth to slow in coming years, but remain robust at 3.2% and 2.8% in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

Hong Kong – Latvia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Latvia increased by 17.7% from HK$718 million in 2017 to HK$845 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Latvia were: (1) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (-10.0%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+55.8%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+126.9%), which represented 87.7% of total exports to Latvia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Latvia buyers. In the past 12 months (from August 2018 to July 2019), there was no claim payment or payment difficult case reported against Latvia buyers.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 5 August 2019

            
Flag and map of Israel

 
Key Information
Capital   Jerusalem
Population   8.4 million
Area   21,497 sq km
Currency   Israeli New Sheqel (1 USD = 3.52479 ILS as of 30 July 2019)
Official language   Hebrew, Arabic
Form of government   Parliamentary democracy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 49 out of 190 in 2019 (↑5)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 20 out of 140 in 2018 ( - )
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 37 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2018)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2018)
Chemicals and chemical products (excl refining) (25.1%)   Fuel (13.0%)
Electronic communication, medical & scientific equipment (17.1%)   Consumer non-durable goods (12.9%)
Polished diamonds (gross) (12.6%)   Machinery & equipment (11.8%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2018)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2018)
USA (31.0%)   USA (12.9%)
China (8.5%)   Switzerland (10.3%)
UK (8.1%)   China (9.0%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Israel is a parliamentary democracy. The president is the head of state elected by the majority of Knesset (parliament) for a seven-year term. The current president, Reuven Rivlin, took office in July 2014. The president appoints the prime minister upon the recommendation of party representatives in the Knesset. The prime minister serves as the head of the government and appoints the ministerial cabinet. The legislature is a unicameral parliament, the Knesset, with 120 members directly elected for a four-year team under a system of proportional representation. In the parliamentary election in April 2019, Netanyahu-led Likud party and his political alliance Blue and White party each secured 35 seats in the Knesset, but failed to form a coalition government. Subsequently, the Israeli Parliament voted to dissolve itself and a new election has been called off for 17 September 2019.

 

Economic Trend

* Estimate  ^ Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Israel has a market economy with a thriving high-technology sector, which accounts for more than 40% of total manufacturing exports. The development of industries such as life sciences, water technologies, communication, military equipment and semiconductor is supported by heavy investment in technology and a well-educated labor force. Since the mid-2000s, economic growth has averaged 3.7% thanks to rises in the working age population and in participation, but labor productivity contributed only 0.8 percentage points on average. The economy expanded 3.3% yr/yr in the first quarter of 2019, up from 3.1% in the preceding quarter. In March 2019, Fitch Ratings has affirmed Israel's long-term foreign-currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'A+' with a stable outlook. The ratings are supported by the country’s strong external finances, robust macroeconomic performance and solid institutional strength against a government debt/GDP ratio that is high relative to peers and ongoing political and security risks.

Hong Kong – Israel Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Israel increased by 15.3% from HK$14.6 billion in 2017 to HK$16.9 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to Israel were: (1) non-metallic mineral manufactures (+24.4%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts (+17.5%), and (3) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-11.9%), which represented 89.1% of total exports to Israel.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering buyers in Israel. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications increased by 10.7% and decreased by 57.9% respectively, while insured business increased by 20.3%. Major insured products were clothing, electronics and metallic products, which represented 51.0% of HKECIC’s insured business on Israel. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Israel has been satisfactory, with one payment difficulty case reported in the past 12 months (July 2018 to June 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 30 July 2019

          
Flag and map of Estonia

 
Key Information
Capital   Tallinn
Population   1.2 million
Area   45,228 sq km
Currency   Euro (1 EUR = 1.1187 USD as of 23 July 2019)
Official language   Estonian
Form of government   Parliamentary republic 
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 16 out of 190 in 2019 (↓4)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 32 out of 140 in 2018 (↓2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 36 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2018)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2018)
Machinery & equipment (24.2%)   Machinery & equipment (24.2%)
Mineral products (15.0)   Mineral products (15.2%)
Timber products (13.1%)   Chemicals (13.6%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2018)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2018)
Finland (15.9%)   Finland (12.9%)
Sweden (10.9%)   Germany (10.4%)
Latvia (9.5%)   Lithuania (8.9%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

Political Highlights

 

Republic of Estonia (Estonia) is a parliamentary republic. Current president, Kersti Kaljulaid, sworn in as the country’s first female head of the state in 2016. The legislature is a unicameral assembly (Riigikogu) with 101 members. In March 2019, centre-right opposition Reform Party won the parliamentary election with 34 seats which outperformed the ruling Centre Party, but it failed to gather support to form a coalition government. In April 2019, a coalition government led by Juri Ratas was formed, comprising the Centre Party, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and the conservative Pro Patria. The next presidential election is due to be held in 2021 and parliamentary election in 2023.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)


Estonia is one of the Baltic states, along with Latvia and Lithuania, and is one of the least populous member states of the European Union (EU). The country is a small and highly open economy. Economic growth has grown over 3.5% in the past 3 years, supported by strong private and public investment. The country stands out in the EU for its lowest level of gross government debt, which stood at 8.3% of GDP in 2018. However, potential growth over the medium term will be constrained by labor supply and slow productivity growth. In May 2019, Moody's affirmed Estonia's issuer ratings at A1 with a stable outlook. The affirmation reflects the economy’s dynamism and resilience, low government debts and susceptibility to geopolitical risks.

Hong Kong – Estonia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Estonia increased by 32.1% from HK$1,150 million in 2017 to HK$1,518 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Estonia were: (1) articles of apparel and clothing accessories (+18.3%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+57.5%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+59.6%), which represented 71.1% of total exports to Estonia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Estonia buyers. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Estonia has been satisfactory with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported during the past 12 months (from July 2018 to June 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 23 July 2019

           
Flag and map of Panama

 
Key Information
Capital   Panama City
Population   4.1 million
Area   75,517 sq km
Currency   Balboa (pegged with US dollar at parity), US dollar
Official language   Spanish
Form of government   Presidential republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 79 out of 190 in 2018 (-)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 64 out of 140 in 2018 (↓9)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 38 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017*)
Manufactured goods (83.8%)   Manufactured goods (59.4%)
Agricultural products (8.4%)   Agricultural products (5.5%)
Fuels and mining products (0.7%)   Fuels and mining products (23.5%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2018)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2018)
USA (17.7%)   USA (24.3%)
Netherlands (17.0%)   China (10.0%)
China (7.5%)   Mexico (4.9%)

* Most recent data available
Source: 
Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), World Trade Organization (WTO)

Political Highlights

 

Panama is a presidential republic wherein the president is both the head of state and head of government elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term. The president appoints a vice-president and a cabinet. Laurentino Cortizo from the Partido Revolucionario Democrático (PRD) party won the 2019 presidential election and was sworn in as president on 1 July 2019. The country adopts an unicameral legislative consisting of a 71-member National Assembly elected by popular vote to serve a five-year term. In the parliamentary election held in May 2019, PRD won a majority in coalition with the Movimiento Liberal Republicano Nacionalista (Molirena), securing a total of 40 seats in the National Assembly. The next legislative and presidential elections are due in May 2024.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate *Forecast   
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Panama has a well-developed service sector centered on the Panama Canal, related logistics and distribution services, as well as insurance, banking and tourism. The sector accounts for about three-quarters of the country’s economic output. The country is a fully dollarized economy in which the US dollar is legal tender due to the country’s close links with the United States. Inflationary pressure is relatively low in the region. While economic growth decelerated in 2018, partly attributed to the slowing construction sector arising from a strike in the first half of the year, it is expected to pick up in 2019 on the back of the recovery of the construction sector and ramping up of the mining sector.

In April 2019, S&P raised its long-term sovereign credit ratings on Panama to 'BBB+' from 'BBB' with a stable rating outlook. The upgrade reflects many years of rapid GDP growth, above the pace of its rating peers, and economic diversification that have boosted per capita income and helped strengthen the resilience of Panama's small, open economy.

Hong Kong – Panama Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Panama increased by 33.1% from HK$1,540 million in 2017 to HK$2,050 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Panama were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+62.2%), (2) photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies and optical goods, watches and clocks (+7.3%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+574.0%), which represented 73.3% of total exports to Panama.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering buyers in Panama. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications decreased by 1.6% and 37.1% respectively, and insured business decreased by 14.2%. Major insured products were clothing, toys and travel goods, which represented 83.8% of HKECIC’s insured business on Panama. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Panama has been satisfactory, with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported during the past 12 months (from July 2018 to June 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 22 July 2019

            
Flag and map of Belarus

 
Key Information
Capital   Minsk
Population   9.5 million
Area   207,600 sq km
Currency   Belarusian rubel (1 USD = 2.032 BYN as of 18 July 2019)
Official language   Belarusian and Russian
Form of government   Presidential republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 37 out of 190 in 2019 (↑1)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 103 out of 160 in 2018
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2017)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2017)
Intermediate goods (54.5%)   Intermediate goods (55.6%)
Consumer goods (19.8%)   Investment goods (23.1%)
Investment goods (18.1%)   Consumer goods (16.6%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2018)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2018)
Russia (38.4%)   Russia (58.9%)
Ukraine (12.1%)   China (8.2%)
UK (9.1%)   Germany (4.8%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

Political Highlights

 

Belarus declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The country is a post-communist state, headed by president Alyaksandar Lukashenka, who has been in office since 1994. He was re-elected in October 2015 with 83.5% of the popular vote. The national legislature is a bicameral parliament consisting of the Council of the Republic (upper house) with 64 members and the House of Representatives (lower house) with 110 members. The political opposition is limited in size, and is composed of only a handful of parties and movements that have no chance of accessing power. The next presidential and legislative elections are scheduled for 2020. 

Economic Trend

^Estimate *Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


The cyclical recovery of the Belarusian economy continued in 2018 with real GDP growth reaching 3.0%. Higher oil prices and robust external demand have supported exports. Economic growth has been accompanied by an impressive fall in the number of households below the poverty line and an increase in household income. However, the country remains heavily relied on loans from Russia and Russian-led organizations. Over 40% of Belarus' government debt is to Russia, and Russia's willingness to extend bilateral financing to Belarus has been an important factor enabling Belarus to meet its financial obligations on time and in full. In April 2019, S&P affirmed its 'B/B' long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Belarus with a stable outlook. The ratings on Belarus remain supported by the financial assistance it receives from the Russian government, despite recurring disputes between the two countries.

Hong Kong – Belarus Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Belarus increased by 20.0% from HK$ 678 million in 2017 to HK$ 813 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Belarus were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+9.5%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+98.4%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+41.2%), which represented 94.8% of total exports to Belarus.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Belarus buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC), with the exception of those under sanctions. In the past 12 months (from July 2018 to June 2019), there was no insured business on Belarus.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 18 July 2019

            
Flag and map of Syria

 
Key Information
Capital   Damascus
Population   18.3 million
Area   185,180 sq km
Currency   Syrian pound (1 USD = 515 SYP as of 17 July 2019)
Official language   Arabic
Form of government   Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 179 out of 190 in 2019 (↓5)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 138 out of 160 in 2018
 
Top three export countries (% of total, 2018)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2018)
Lebanon (17.2%)   Russia (31.2%)
Iraq (13.3%)   Turkey (15.9%)
Spain (9.7%)   China (10.6%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

Political Highlights

 

Syrian Arab Republic (“Syria”) is a republic where the president is elected for a seven-year term. The president appoints the vice-president, the prime minister and the council of ministers. The current president, Bashar al-Assad, is also commander-in-chief of the armed forces and secretary-general of the Baath party. In 2011, Syria’s government faced an unprecedented challenge to its authority when pro-democracy protests erupted throughout the country. Protesters demanded an end to the authoritarian practices of the Assad regime, in place since Assad’s father, Ḥafiz al-Assad, became president in 1971. The conflict had expanded into a full-fledged civil war. Despite international efforts to end the civil war, a comprehensive peace deal is likely to remain elusive. Faced with severely diminished resources and ongoing international sanctions, the regime will remain reliant on financial support from Iran and Russia.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate *Forecast  

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (only data from 2018 is available)

The conflict in Syria continues to take a heavy toll on the life of Syrian people and on the Syrian economy. The scale of destruction after nearly eight years of conflict is enormous, with economic activity held back by poor harvests, depressed oil output and the exodus of 5 million Syrian refugees. According to the World Bank, cumulative GDP loss is estimated at US$ 226 billion from 2011 to 2016. The impact of the Syrian crisis on its neighboring countries, in particular Lebanon and Jordan, has been significant where conservative estimates put the proportion of Syrian refugees at 25% and 10% of the countries’ populations respectively. A multi-donor trust fund, the Lebanon Syria Crisis Trust Fund (LSCTF), managed by the World Bank was established in 2014 with an aim to provide grant financing to projects that mitigate the impact of the Syrian crisis.

Hong Kong – Syria Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Syria decreased by 5.5% from HK$ 13.8 million in 2017 to HK$ 13.0 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Syria were: (1) professional, scientific and controlling instruments and apparatus (+63.3%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+734.9%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (-65.9%), which represented 57.7% of total exports to Syria.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) currently does not provide cover on Syrian buyers.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 17 July 2019

           
Flag and map of Jamaica

 
Key Information
Capital   Kingston
Population   2.8 million
Area   10,991 sq km
Currency   Jamaica Dollar (1 JMD = 0.0075 USD as of 17 July 2019)
Official language   English
Form of government   Constitutional monarchy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 75 out of 190 in 2019 (↓5) 
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 79 out of 140 in 2018 (↓1)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 113 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
USA (45.0%)   USA (43.7%)
EU (15.0%)   EU (7.4%)
Canada (9.6%)   Japan (6.3%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), World Trade Organization (WTO) 

Political Highlights

 

Jamaica declared its independence from Britain in 1962 and became a member of the British Commonwealth. The country is a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. She is represemted by the Governor-General, Sir Patrick Linton Allen since 2009, who was appointed on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. The national legislature is made up of a bicameral with 63-member House of Representatives (the lower house) and 21-member Senate (the upper house), with 13 seats allocated on the advice of the prime minister and eight on the advice of the leader of the opposition. The Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, and his Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) administration secured five-seat parliamentary majority allowing the government to push on with its reform agenda including reducing public debt, maintaining macroeconomic stability, facilitating job creation and improving labour force productivity. The next general election is due in February 2021.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Jamaica is the largest island and most populated in the English-speaking Caribbean. The country is vulnerable to natural disasters, especially hurricanes, flooding and the effects of climate change. The economy is struggling to low growth, high public debt and exposure to external shocks. In 2013, the government launched a reform program aiming to stabilize the economy, reduce debt, fuel growth, gaining national and international support. According to the World Bank, the country’s debt level remained high but improving. Public debt fell below 100% of GDP in 2018/19 and is expected to decline further to below 60% by 2025/26. In Janurary 2019, Fitch has upgraded Jamaica's long-rerm foreign and local currency issuer default ratings to B+ from B with a stable outlook. The upgrade reflects Jamaica’s track record of large primary surpluses that have resulted in significantly lower general government debt-to-GDP ratio.

Hong Kong – Bosnia and Herzegovina Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Jamaica decreased by 13.0% from HK$74.8 million in 2017 to HK$65.1 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Jamaica were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-19.7%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (-6.4%), and (3) general industrial machinery and equipment, and machine parts (-3.7%), which represented 62.0% of total exports to Jamaica.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Jamaica buyers. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Jamaica has been satisfactory, with one payment difficulty case reported during the past 12 months (from July 2018 to June 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 15 July 2019

            
Flag and map of Peru

 
Key Information
Capital   Lima
Population   31.3 million
Area   1,285,216 sq km
Currency   Peruvian Sol (1 PEN = 0.3027 USD as of 24 June 2019)
Official language   Spanish, Quechua and Aymara
Form of government   Presidential democracy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 68 out of 190 in 2019 (↓10) 
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 63 out of 140 in 2018 (↓3)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 83 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2018)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2018)
Copper (30.4%)   Intermediate goods (49.0%)
Gold (16.8%)   Capital goods (27.8%)
Fishmeal (3.9%)   Consumption goods (22.9%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2018)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2018)
China (28.7%)   China (24.1%)
USA (20.6%)   USA (20.4%)
South Korea (6.7%)   Brazil (5.8%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

Political Highlights

 

Republic of Peru (Peru) is a presidential republic with the president serving as both the head of state and head of government for a five-year term. Former Vice President Martin Vizcarra assumed the presidency when his predecessor, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, resigned in March 2018 amid mounting allegations of corruption. Vizcarra formed a new ministerial cabinet. . The national legislature is made up of a congress, consisting of a 130-member single chamber. Vizcarra’s party, Peruanos Por el Kambio (PPK), only holds a small minority (11 out of 130 seats) in Congress. The political outlook remains challenging given perceptions of political weakness of the government. The next presidential and national legislative elections will take place in April 2021.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)


Peru’s two decades of strong economic growth have gradually led to the emergence of a growing middle class. However, the growth of market opportunities remain limited to urban areas. The majority of the population, particularly in rural areas, will continue to have low disposable income. Peru recorded an average annual GDP growth of 3.6% in 2013-17 and EIU expected growth of 4% in 2018-22. Although rapid economic growth over the past two decades has enabled Peru to catch up with the Latin American median in terms of GDP per head, it is still well below that of developed countries. In June 2019, Moody’s affirmed Peru’s long-term foreign-currency and local-currency issuer ratings at A3 with a stable outlook. The rating reflects the country’s moderate economic strength, the government very high fiscal strength and moderate institutional strength.

Hong Kong – Peru Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Peru increased by 19.7% from HK$3.37 billion in 2017 to HK$4.04 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to Peru were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+24.4%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+27.0%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+9.9%), which represented 88.8% of total exports to Peru.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Peru buyers. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications on Peru decreased 25.9% and 22.2% respectively, while insured business increased by 3.8%. Major insured products were clothing, office & stationery supplies and toys, which represented 83.6% of HKECIC’s insured business on Peru. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Peru has been satisfactory with one payment difficultiy case case reported during the past 12 months (from July 2018 to June 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 10 July 2019

            
Flag and map of Moldova

 
Key Information
Capital   Chisinau
Population   3.6 million
Area   33,700 sq km
Currency   Moldovan leu (1 USD = MDL 18.078 as of 30 June 2019)
Official language   Moldovan
Form of government   Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 47 out of 190 in 2019 (↓3)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 88 out of 140 in 2018 (↓1)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 116 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2016*)
Manufactures (52.8%)   Manufactures (66.9%)
Agricultural products (45.9%)   gricultural products (16.0%)
Fuels and mining products (1.3%)   Fuels and mining products (11.9%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017*)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017*)
Romania (34.0%)   Romania (16.4%)
Russia (19.0%)   Ukraine (12.1%)
Italy (12.5%)   Russia (11.2%)

* Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trade Organization

Political Highlights

 

The president of Moldova, directly elected for a four-year team by universal suffrage, is the head of state. Current pro-Russia president Igor Dodon, the former leader of the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM), was elected in November 2016. The president appoints the prime minister who serves as the head of government and appoints the cabinet. The country adopts a unicameral legislative with 101 members. In the parliamentary election held in February 2019, no political party won an outright majority, resulting in a hung parliament. In June 2019, Maia Sandu of Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS) was elected as prime minister in a coalition government with PSRM, putting an end to the political turmoil.

 

Economic Trend

* Estimates ^ Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund


Moldova is a small lower-middle-income economy. Although it is one of the poorest countries in Europe, Moldova has made significant progress in reducing poverty and promoting inclusive growth since the early 2000s. The economy of Moldova depends mainly on the agricultural and agro-processing sectors as well as remittances from Moldovans working abroad. Remittances from abroad accounts for a quarter of its total GDP, among the highest share in the world. The economy grew by 4.0% in 2018, driven by private consumption bolstered by real growth of disposable income and higher investment on the back of lower inflation and favorable interest rates. Against the background of lower remittances and projected weaker foreign and domestic demand, the economy is expected to grow at a softer pace in 2019, according to the World Bank in May 2019.

Hong Kong – Moldova Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Moldova increased by 19.2% from HK$168 million in 2017 to HK$200 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Moldova were: (1) telecommunications, audio & video equipment (+41.7%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-15.5%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+3.6%), which represented 91.8% of total exports to Moldova.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Moldovan buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC), with the exception of those under sanctions. In the past 12 months (from June 2018 to May 2019), there was no insured business on Moldova.

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 30 June 2019

          
Flag and map of Morocco

 
Key Information
Capital   Rabat
Population   36.2 million
Area   446,550 sq km
Currency   Moroccan Dirham (pegged to Euro and USD, 1 Euro = 10.7937 MAD as of 4 July 2019)
Official language   Arabic, Berber
Form of government   Constitutional monarchy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 60 out of 190 in 2019 (↑9)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 75 out of 140 in 2018 (↑2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 109 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2018)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2018)
Fertilisers & chemicals (10.7%)   Fuel & lubricants (24.9%)
Finished clothes (8.6%)   Capital goods (22.5%)
Phosphoric acid (3.7%)   Semi-finished goods (20.7%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
Spain (23.0%)   Spain (16.2%)
France (22.1%)   France (11.8%)
Brazil (7.3%)   China (9.9%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) 

Political Highlights

 

Morocco was a French protectorate from 1912 to 1956, when Sultan Mohammed became king. He was succeeded in 1961 by his son, Hassan II, who ruled for 38 years. The current king, Mohammed VI, came to the throne in 1999, on the death of his father King Hassan II. The King is the dominant political figure in the country and oversees the government policies. The national legislature is a bicameral system, consisting of a directly elected 395-seat lower House of Representatives and a 120-seat upper Chamber of Advisers indirectly elected by an electoral college. The king is required to ask a member of the largest party in the parliament to form a government. Saadeddine el-Othmani, of the Justice and Development Party (JDP), was appointed as prime minister and formed a cabinet in March 2017. The next election for the lower house is scheduled for October 2021.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate *Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Morocco has made significant efforts in strengthening the resilience of its economy in recent years. While economic activity has weakened since 2018 due to lower agricultural growth, which was only partially compensated by otherwise good performance of nonagricultural activities. The government has been reducing the economy's vulnerability to weather shocks by investing in more efficient technologies in the agricultural sector via the Green Morocco Plan, as well as diversifying the economy. However, the outlook remains subject to significant downside risks, including weaker growth in Morocco’s main trading partners, geopolitical risks, and volatile global financial conditions. In April 2019, S&P affirmed its long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Morocco at 'BBB-/A-3'. The outlook is negative.

Hong Kong – Morocco Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Morocco increased by 11.5% from HK$1,300 million in 2017 to HK$ 1,449 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Morocco were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+8.0%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+40.5%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-18.7%), which represented 85.5% of total exports to Morocco.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Morocco buyers. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Morocco has been satisfactory, with one claim payment case of small amount reported in the past 12 months (June 2018 to May 2019.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 28 June 2019

            
Flag and map of Russia

 
Key Information
Capital   Moscow
Population   146.8 million
Area   17,075,400 sq km
Currency   Russian ruble (1 USD = 63.085 RUB as of 27 June 2019)
Official language   Russian
Form of government   Republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 31 out of 190 in 2019 (↑4)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 43 out of 140 in 2018 (↑2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 75 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Oil, fuel & gas (60.4%)   Machinery & equipment (48.7%)
Metals (13.4%)   Chemicals (17.8%)
Machinery & equipment (7.9%)   Food & agricultural products (12.8%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
China (10.9%)   China (21.2%)
Netherlands (10.0%)   Germany (10.6%)
Germany (7.7%)   USA (5.6%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Following a constitutional change in 2008, the president of Russia was elected by direct popular vote for a six-year term. The president appoints the prime minister with the consent of the State Duma. The prime minister is the head of the government who appoints deputy prime ministers and federal ministers. Currently, political power rests mainly with president Vladimir Putin, who has assumed office since 2000, serving two terms and then a four-year stint as prime minister, before resuming the presidency in 2012 and re-elected for a fourth term in March 2018. The country has a two-chamber legislative with 170 members in the Federation Council (upper house) and 450 members in the State Duma (lower house). The next legislative and presidential elections are due to be held in 2021 and 2024 respectively.
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund


Russia is a major producer of crude oil, petroleum products, and natural gas, and is also a top exporter of metals. Sales of the hydrocarbons account for about 60% of Russia's exports, with metals contributing a little more than 13%. The country's reliance on commodity exports makes it vulnerable to boom and bust cycles that follow the fluctuations in global prices. Economic growth accelerated in 2018, largely due to robust global growth, higher oil prices, one-off construction projects and Russia’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup. Meanwhile, the poverty rate declined slightly to 12.9% in 2018 from 13.3% in 2017, thanks to growth in the main sources of income, wages and pensions.
However, downside risks to Russia’s medium-term growth outlook stem from the potential expansion of economic sanctions, renewed financial turmoil in emerging markets and developing economies, a souring global trade environment, and a dramatic drop in oil prices, according to the World Bank. On the upside, national projects aimed at strengthening human capital and increasing productivity, if well-implemented, could positively affect Russia’s potential growth in the medium-term
.

 

Hong Kong – Russia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Russia increased by 33.5% from HK$21.87 billion in 2017 to HK$29.19 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to Russia were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+47.8%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+6.1%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts (+16.9%), which represented 82.7% of total exports to Russia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (ECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Russian buyers, with the exception of those under sanctions. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications decreased by 9.8% and increased by 36.3% respectively, while insured business increased by 22.5%. Major insured products were metallic products, chemical products and electronics, which represented 85.4% of HKECIC’s insured business on Russia. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Russia has been satisfactory, with no payment difficulty case or claim case reported in the past 12 months (from June 2018 to May 2019).

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 27 June 2019

       
Flag and map of Bulgaria

 
Key Information
Capital   Sofia
Population   7.1 million
Area   111,002 sq km
Currency   Bulgarian Leva (1 USD = 1.95583 BGN as of 25 June 2019))
Official language   Bulgarian
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 59 out of 190 in 2019 (↓9)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 51 out of 140 in 2018 (-)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 52 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2018)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2018)
Raw materials (39.7%)   Raw materials (36.8%)
Investment goods (25.2%)   Investment goods (26.6%)
Consumer goods (24.8%)   Consumer goods (21.6%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2018)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2018)
Germany (14.8%)   Germany (12.4%)
Italy (8.6%)   Russia (9.7%)
Romania (8.5%)   Italy (7.5%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic with president as the head of state, who is democratically elected to serve a five-year term. Current president Rumen Radev was sworn into office in January 2017. The prime minister, being the leader of the largest political party in the National Assembly, serves as the head of government for a four-year term. Current prime minister is Boyko Borisov, who had previously held this post on two separate occasions, from 2009 until 2013 and from 2014 until January 2017. The country adopts a unicameral legislative with 240 members in the National Assembly. In the parliamentary election held in March 2017, Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (CEDB) won the largest number of seats, but still required the support of other political parties to secure a majority in the National Assembly. The next parliamentary election is due in March 2021.
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Bulgaria joined the European Union (EU) in 2007. The country’s economic growth picked up since 2015 after having been hit by the global and eurozone crises. The economy is estimated to grow by 3.2% in 2018, supported by the buoyant domestic demand and is projected to maintain its momentum in 2019. According to a flash estimate by the National Statistical Institute, real GDP grew by 3.4% yr/yr in Q1 2019, accelerating from 3.2% in Q4 2018. The growth was mostly driven by the exports of goods and services, which advanced by 5% yr/yr in Q1, up from 1.4% in the previous quarter.

While economic performance remains robust, risks to the outlook are tilted to the downside amid slowing external demand, according to the IMF. Also, Bulgaria’s income level is just half of the EU average and income inequality is high among EU countries. The IMF emphasized the need for the country to implement broad-based structural reforms to boost potential growth and accelerate EU income convergence, amongst other things.
 

Hong Kong – Bulgaria Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Bulgaria increased by 30.9% from HK$794 million in 2017 to HK$1,039 million in 2018. The top three export categories to the Bulgaria were: (1) telecommunications, audio & video equipment (+43.3%), (2) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (+38.6%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+4.0%), which represented 89.8% of total exports to Bulgaria.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (ECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Bulgarian buyers. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications decreased by 25.0% and 21.0% respectively, while insured business increased by 21.4%. Major insured products were electronics, electrical appliances and metallic products, which represented 98.9% of HKECIC’s insured business on Bulgaria. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Bulgaria has been satisfactory, with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported during the past 12 months (from June 2018 to May 2019)

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 25 June 2019

       
Flag and map of Cuba

 
Key Information
Capital   Havana
Population   11.5 million
Area   110,860 sq km
Currency   Cuban peso (1 USD = 26.5 CUP as of 19 June 2019)
Official language   Spanish
Form of government   Centrialised political system

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Republic of Cuba (Cuba) has a centralized political system, with close identification between the Partido Comunista de Cuba (PCC) and the state. The PCC is the only legal political party. Candidates for the National Assembly are chosen by Candidacy Commissions chaired by local trade union officials and composed of elected representatives of "mass organisations" representing workers, young people, women, students and farmers. Miguel Díaz-Canel took over Raúl Castro as president in April 2018, while Raúl retains the real power as head of the Communist Party and the Cuban military, and his family controls much of the economy. A constitutional reform has been officially codified in April 2019, and stipulated that a new electoral law be introduced within three months. The new law will officially spell out the duties of president and prime minister.

Due to Cuba’s humanitarian and political aid in Venezuela, the US has imposed new travel restrictions to Cuba in June 2019. The US no longer permits visits to Cuba via passenger and recreational vessels, including cruise ships and yachts, as well as private and corporate aircraft. Other sanctions, including restriction on Venezuelan oil shipments to Cuba and remittances from Cuban-Americans to relatives in Cuba, has put pressure on Cuba's external sector.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit 


The Cuba economy has limited access to foreign exchange as a result of US sanctions. In the light of US sanctions announced in June 2019, which ended cruise ship tourism to Cuba, EIU has reduced its real GDP growth forecast for 2019 to 0.1%. The domestic retail trade is dominated by the state and the network of state-owned shops sell in foreign currency to both Cubans and foreigners, while separate outlets owned by the state sell in Cuban pesos. There is limited information available on consumer-spending patterns. Much of the labor force performs low-productivity functions in Cuba’s bloated government sector. Excessive bureaucracy and the lack of regulatory transparency continue to limit trade and investment.

Hong Kong – Cuba Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Cuba decreased by 23.1% from HK$ 41.1 million in 2017 to HK$ 31.6 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Cuba were: (1) photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies and optical goods; watches and clocks (+46.0%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-77.4%), and (3) office machines and automatic data processing machines (-68.7%), which represented 85.3% of total exports to Cuba.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Cuba buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC), with the exception of those under sanctions. In the past 12 months (from June 2018 to May 2019), there was no insured business on Cuba.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 19 Jun 2019

           
Flag and map of Equatorial Guinea

 
Key Information
Capital   Malabo
Population   1.27 million
Area   28,051 sq km
Currency   CFA franc (1 USD = 582.66 XOF as of 4 June 2019)
Official language   Spanish, French and Portuguese
Form of government   Presidential republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 177 out of 190 in 2019 (↓4)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 136 out of 160 in 2018
 
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
China (27.1%)   Spain (7.4%)
India (11.4%)   China (7.0%)
South Korea (9.9%)   USA (4.7%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) 

Political Highlights

 

Equatorial Guinea is a presidential republic. The president is both the head of state and head of government, elected by universal suffrage for a seven-year term. In the presidential election held in April 2016, incumbent President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has been in power since 1979, retained his office with 93.7% of the votes. Francisco Pascual Obama Asus was appointed as prime minister and formed a government in June 2016. The legislature is a bicameral parliament. The lower house consists of 100 members elected by universal suffrage, who serve a five-year term. The upper house has 70 members who serve a five-year term. The legislative election which took place in 2017 saw the ruling Partido Democrático de Guinea Ecuatorial (PDGE) secure all but one seat in parliament.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate *Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Equatorial Guinea is bordered in the north by Cameroon, in the east and south by Gabon, and to the west by the Gulf of Guinea. It is well endowed with arable land and mineral resources ranging from gold, oil, uranium, diamond, columbite-tantalite and petroleum. After the discovery of large oil reserves in the 1990s, the country has been one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. While the country’s real GDP growth has been weak in recent years, largely due to a trend decline of the dominant hydrocarbon sector. Economic performance deteriorated substantially in the wake of the 2014 oil price shock and intensified further in 2015. The lower oil prices prompted producers to cut costs, resulting in lower production. To restore its external and fiscal imbalances, Equatorial Guinea is undertaking a number of reforms and entered into an IMF Staff Monitored Program (SMP) in May 2018. The SMP focuses on reducing the fiscal deficit and addressing critical weaknesses in public financial management, as well as improving the business climate and supporting economic diversification.

Hong Kong – Equatorial Guinea Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Equatorial Guinea increased by 631.0% from HK$2.6 million in 2017 to HK$ 18.7 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Equatorial Guinea were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+2182.3%), (2) articles of apparel and clothing accessories (-4.5%), and (3) meat and meat preparations (N/A), which represented 96.3% of total exports to Equatorial Guinea.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Equatorial Guinea buyers. In the past 12 months (from June 2018 to May 2019), there was no insured business on Equatorial Guinea.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 5 June 2019

           
Flag and map of Micronesia (Federated States of)

 
Key Information
Capital   Palikir
Population   0.1 million
Area   702 sq km
Currency   USD
Official language   English
Form of government   Federal republic in free association with the US
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 160 out of 190 in 2019 (↓5) 
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 128 out of 160 in 2018

Source: CIA

Political Highlights

 

Federation of Micronesia (Micronesia) is located in the Western Pacific, consisting of some 600 islands grouped into four states including Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk (Truk) and Yap. It has been in free association with the US since 1986. The country has signed a "Compact of Free Association" with the US, under which the US took on responsibility for defence and gained the right to set up military bases and deny other nations access to Micronesia. In return, Micronesia received financial assistance from the US per year, and the right of Micronesians to live and work in the US. The country's biggest challenge is to find a way of lessening its dependence on foreign aid, with tourism seen as one possibility.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Micronesia has a narrow production base primarily comprising subsistence farming and fishing, and government, which employs two-thirds of the adult working population. The country’s potential for tourism is limited by isolation, lack of adequate facilities, and limited internal air and water transportation. The economy of the Micronesia has performed well in recent years. GDP growth has remained higher than its historical average, albeit at a slower pace in 2018 due to a contraction in construction. The country’s medium-term challenges include climate change and weak private sector growth. According to IMF, developing diverse sources for contingent natural disaster financing to cope with climate change and increasing access to finance, improving the investment climate, and reducing impediments to doing business in order to promote pricate sector would be vital.

Hong Kong – Micronesia (Federated States of) Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Micronesia decreased by 30.4% from HK$ 26.6 million in 2017 to HK$ 18.5 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Micronesia were: (1) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+49.0%), (2) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-78.2%), and (3) footwear (+70.0%), which represented 41.5% of total exports to Micronesia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Micronesia buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from May 2018 to April 2019), there was no insured business on Micronesia.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 29 May 2019

           
Flag and map of Liberia

 
Key Information
Capital   Monrovia
Population   4.7 million
Area   111,370 sq km
Currency   Liberian Dollar (1 USD = 184.875 LRD as of 24 May 2019)
Official language   English
Form of government   Presidential republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 174 out of 190 in 2019 (↓2)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 132 out of 140 in 2018 (↓2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 143 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Rubber (33.2%)   Food & live animals (25.6%)
Gold (32.3%)   Machinery & transport equipment (22.4%)
Iron ore (22.2%)   Mineral products (21.7%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Switzerland (64.4%)   China (25.7%)
USA (9.2%)   Côte d'Ivoire (12.8%)
France (8.8%)   Netherlands (7.7%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Liberia is a presidential republic wherein the president is the head of state and head of government elected by universal suffrage for a six-year term. Liberia’s politician and former professional footballer George Weah sworn in as president in January 2018, marking the first peaceful transfer of power in the country in decades. The president appoints the prime minister with the consent and confirmation of the Senate. The country adopts a bicameral legislative consisting of the Senate (upper house) with 30 members serving for a term of nine years and the House of Representatives (lower house) with 73 members elected by popular vote to serve a six-year term. The next presidential and legislative elections are due to be held in 2023.
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Liberia has been listed on the Least Developed Countries by the United Nations since 1990. The economy expanded by an estimated 1.2% in 2018, a significant slowdown from 2.5% in 2017. Despite a 24.2% year-over-year expansion in the mining sector, the non-mining sector, which accounts for about 90% of the country’s GDP, contracted by 1.3% in 2018. The Liberian dollar depreciated by 26% year-over-year against the US dollar, pushing inflation to 28% by end December 2018. This is detrimental to the living standards of the most vulnerable Liberians who earn and spend primarily in Liberian dollars. In March 2019, the IMF lowered Liberia’s 2019 GDP growth forecast to 0.4% from 4.7%, citing macroeconomic stability has proved elusive despite improved revenue collection in the first half of 2019, and the fiscal stance has loosened significantly.

 

Hong Kong – Liberia Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Liberia increased by 90.9% from HK$21.24 million in 2017 to HK$40.54 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Liberia were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+96.1%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines (+115.8%) and (3) power generating machinery and equipment (+162.3%), which represented 94.9% of total exports to Liberia.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Liberian buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from May 2018 to April 2019), there was no insured business on Liberia.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 24 May 2019

       
Flag and map of Italy

 
Key Information
Capital   Rome
Population   59.4 million
Area   301,333 sq km
Currency   Euro (1 EUR = 1.11775 USD as of 17 May 2019)
Official language   Italian
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 51 out of 190 in 2019 (↓5)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 31 out of 140 in 2018 (-)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 19 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Machinery & transport equipment (36.0%)   Machinery & transport equipment (28.8%)
Chemicals & related products (13.0%)   Chemicals & related products (15.7%)
Food, drinks & tobacco (8.3%)   Mineral fuels, lubricants & related materials (11.8%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Germany (12.4%)   Germany (16.3%)
France (10.2%)   France (8.7%)
USA (9.0%)   China (7.0%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Italy is a parliamentary republic with president as the head of state, who is elected by both houses of parliament for a seven-year term. The president appoints the prime minister who chooses the ministers for various departments to form the government. Current president Sergio Mattarella was elected in January 2015. The country adopts a bicameral legislative consisting of a 315-seat Senate (upper house) and a 630-seat Chamber of Deputies (lower house). In the general election held in March 2018, no political party won an outright majority, resulting in a hung parliament. Subsequently, Giuseppe Conte became Italy’s prime minister on 1 June 2018 with the support from the League and the Five Star Movement which agreed to form a coalition government, putting an end to three months of political turmoil. The next parliamentary election is due in March 2023.
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit


Italy is the third-largest economy in the Eurozone. The economy has experienced modest recovery in recent years after suffering from the global financial crisis 2008-09 and subsequent Europe’s sovereign debt crisis. However, economic growth slowed in 2018, reflecting slower growth in the Eurozone, adverse terms of trade, and higher domestic policy uncertainty as evidenced in elevated sovereign borrowing costs, according to the International Monetary Fund. In addition, Italy was the only Eurozone’s state to enter recession in the last two quarters in 2018. Facing a gloomy outlook for the economy, the Italian government has lowered the country’s 2019 growth forecast to 0.2% in April 2019, down from a 1.0% growth it projected in December 2018. In April 2019, Standard & Poor’s affirmed its unsolicited long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Italy at 'BBB/A-2' with a negative outlook.

 

Hong Kong – Italy Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Italy increased by 10.9% from HK$25.54 billion in 2017 to HK$28.31 billion in 2018. The top three export categories to Italy were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+23.7%), (2) photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies and optical goods; watches and clocks (+5.3%) and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (+11.1%), which represented 61.2% of total exports to Italy.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering buyers in Italy. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications decreased by 5.9% and increased by 3.0% respectively, while insured business increased by 1.7%. Major insured products were electronics, clothing and printed matters, which represented 65.5% of HKECIC’s insured business on Italy. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Italy has been acceptable, with six payment difficulty cases and 12 claim payment cases reported in the past 12 months (May 2018 to April 2019).

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 17 May 2019

       
Flag and map of Tonga

 
Key Information
Capital   Nuku'alofa
Population   0.1 million
Area   748 sq km
Currency   Tongan Pa'anga (1 USD = 2.27710 TOP as of 15 May 2019)
Official language   English and Tongan
Form of government   Constitutional monarchy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 91 out of 190 in 2019 (↓2)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2018)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2018)
New Zealand (17.2%)   New Zealand (37.4%)
Australia (13.9%)   USA (12.9%)
USA (13.8%)   Australia (12.2%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Tonga, officially the Kingdom of Tonga, is made up of about 170 islands scattered in the Pacific Ocean. The country had long been a British Protectorate since it signed a Treaty of Friendship with the United Kingdom in 1900. It became fully independent after the Treaty came to an end in 1970 and joined the Commonwealth of Nations in the same year. As a constitutional monarchy, the King of Tonga acts as the head of state and the chief commander of the armed forces, while the prime minister is the head of government who is appointed by the King. The country adopts a unicameral legislature consisting of 26 members in the Legislative Assembly. The next national election is due in 2022. 
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: International Monetary Fund


Tonga’s economy is dominated by subsistence agriculture, which is heavily dependent on weather conditions. Agricultural exports, including fish, make up two-thirds of total exports. The two major sources of foreign currency are the remittances of Tongans living abroad and tourism. Besides, fisheries, marine biodiversity and coral reefs are a critical part of Tonga’s growing tourism industry, estimated at 7.7% of annual GDP, according to the World Bank.

The economy is also reliant on financial grants and loans from a number of countries including Australia, New Zealand, China, as well as international organizations. In April 2019, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a US$10 million grant to support Tonga which aimed to improve fisheries governance in Tonga’s tuna longline, deep water snapper and inshore commercial fisheries, through enhanced licensing, registration and fishing rights frameworks.



 

Hong Kong – Tonga Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Tonga increased by 85.1% from HK$3.3 million in 2017 to HK$6.1 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Tonga were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+132.9%), (2) special transactions and commodities not classified according to kind (+32.4%) and (3) manufactures of metals (+5250.0%), which represented 84.1% of total exports to Tonga.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Tonga buyers. In the past 12 months (from May 2018 to April 2019), there was no insured business on Tonga.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 15 May 2019

       
Flag and map of Madagascar

 
Key Information
Capital   Antananarivo
Population   25.1 million
Area   592,000 sq km
Currency   Ariary (1 MGA = 0.0003 USD as of 7 May 2019)
Official language   Malagasy, French
Form of government   Unitary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 161 out of 190 in 2019 (↑1) 
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 128 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Nickel and cobalt (13.7%)   Capital goods (14.3%)
Cloves (5.7%)   Raw materials (14.1%)
Titanium ore and zirconium (2.3%)   Consumer goods (12.1%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
France (23.8%)   China (22.7%)
USA (19.6%)   UAE (8.3%)
Germany (7.5%)   India (8.2%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Madagascar is a unitary republic with president serves as the head of the state. The current president, Andry Rajoelina, took office in January 2019. It was the first time in the history of Madagascar since its independence that a democratic power transfer and a peaceful power transition took place. Christian Ntsay was reappointed as prime minister in January 2019 as the head of the government. The legislature is a National Assembly with 151 seats. Political stability remains fragile as the parliament was dissolved pending for new legislative elections to be held in late-May 2019. Of the 151 seats, 87 will be elected from single-member constituencies, using a first-past-the-post voting system. The remaining 64 seats will be filled using 32 two-seat constituencies, voted for using a party-list system with proportional representation. On 26 April, President Andry Rajoelina has postponed a constitutional referendum that was to be held alongside with the legislative election. The referendum proposes two major changes to the constitution including the abolition of the Senate and the devolution of new powers to enhanced regional governorships.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Madagascar, a country in southern Africa located in the Indian Ocean east of Mozambique, is the fifth largest island in the world. The country produces acound 80% of the world’s vanilla. Its economic strength is based on the agricultural sector, including fishing and forestry, which represents about 25% of GDP and employs around 80% of the population in 2017. Economic growth accelerated in 2018, driven by a recovery in agriculturewhich the output has been recovering from drought, cyclones and flood in previous years. However, government revenue and spending remains heavily relied on donor aid. In 2016, IMF approved a 40-month arrangement for US$347mn Extended Credit Facility (ECF), which aimed to support the country’s effort to reinforce macro stability and boost sustained and inclusive growth. As a low-income country with an open economy, the country remains vulnerable to external shocks.

Hong Kong – Madagascar Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Madagascar increased by 2.9% from HK$ 310 million in 2017 to HK$ 319 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Madagascar were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-15.9%), (2) textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles, and related products (+19.1%), and (3) machinery specialized for particular industries (+78.3%), which represented 64.3% of total exports to Madagascar.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Madagascar buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC). In the past 12 months (from May 2018 to April 2019), there was no insured business on Madagascar.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 7 May 2019       

Flag and map of Luxembourg

 
Key Information
Capital   Luxembourg City
Population   0.6 million
Area   2,586 sq km
Currency   Euro (1 EUR = 1.11877 USD as of 6 May 2019)
Official language   Luxembourgish, French and German
Form of government   Constitutional monarchy 
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 66 out of 190 in 2019 (↓3)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 19 out of 140 in 2018 (↑3)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 24 out of 160 in 2018
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2016*)   Major Merchandise Imports (% of total, 2016*)
Manufactured products (84.1%)   Manufactured products (74.5%)
Agricultural products (9.1%)   Agricultural products (13.1%)
Fuel and mining products (4.4%)   Fuel and mining products (12.1%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
Germany (28.2%)   Belgium (34.1%)
Belgium (19.2%)   Germany (26.6%)
France (15.7%)   France (12.2%)

* Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), World Trade Organisation (WTO) 

Political Highlights

 

Luxembourg is a representative democracy in the form of a constitutional monarchy, with hereditary succession in the Nassau family. The head of state is Grand Duke Henri, since the abdication of his father Grand Duke Jean in 2000. The Luxembourg population elects the 60 members of parliament (Chamber of Deputies) through a universal, proportional suffrage for a five-year term. Following the general election held in October 2018, the three-party governing coalition of the centre-right Democratic Party (DP) and two left-of-centre parties, the Socialist Workers’ Party (LSAP) and the Greens, remained in office. The coalition parties won 31 out of the 60 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and continue to be led by Xavier Bettel of the DP as prime minister. The next general election is scheduled to be held in 2023.

 

Economic Trend

*Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


Luxembourg has benefited from strong growth in recent years compared with other developed countries, supported by sound economic policies and favorable global conditions. Its GDP per capita is one of the highest among the sovereigns. The financial and business services sectors are Luxembourg's key industries, supporting its role as a financial hub and contributing to its prosperity. According to the IMF in March 2019, real GDP growth is projected to remain robust in 2019, notwithstanding some deceleration over the medium term reflecting weaker global economic prospects. In March 2019, S&P s affirmed its 'AAA' long-term and 'A-1+' short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Luxembourg. The rating outlook is stable. The ratings on Luxembourg reflect its prosperous economy, transparent and effective institutional framework, prudent budgetary policies, and recurrent external surpluses.

Hong Kong – Luxembourg Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Luxembourg increased by 46.9% from HK$383 million in 2017 to HK$ 563 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Luxembourg were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+71.0%), (2) other transport equipment (+1372.2%), and (3) power generating machinery and equipment (-41.6%), which represented 75.5% of total exports to Luxembourg.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restrictions on covering Luxembourg buyers. For 2018, the number and amount of credit limit applications on South Africa decreased by 51.0% and 75.1% respectively, and insured business decreased by 3.6%. Major insured products were toys, artificial flowers and clothing, which represented 85.6% of HKECIC’s insured business on Luxembourg. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Luxembourg has been satisfactory, with one payment difficulty cases in the past 12 months (from May 2018 to April 2019), involving clothing.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 6 May 2019

            
Flag and map of Barbados

 
Key Information
Capital   Bridgetown
Population   0.28 million
Area   731 sq km
Currency   Barbados dollar (pegged to the US dollar at BBD 2:USD 1)
Official language   English
Form of government   Parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 129 out of 190 in 2019 (↑3)
Major Merchandise Exports (% of total, 2018)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2015*)
Chemicals (15.7%)   Food & beverages (22.0%)
Rum (15.6%)   Fuel (16.3%)
Other food & beverages (12.8%)   Chemicals (5.1%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
USA (25.8%)   USA (39.6%)
Trinidad and Tobago (7.5%)   Trinidad and Tobago (16.8%)
Jamaica (5.9%)   China (5.8%)

* Most recent data available
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

Political Highlights

 

Barbados is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. It is a member country of The Commonwealth, recognizing Queen Elizabeth II as head of state and she is represented by a governor-general. The governor-general appoints the leader of the largest party in parliament as prime minister. The legislature is bicameral consisting of the 21-member Senate (upper house) and 30-member House of Assembly (lower house). In the general election held in May 2018, the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) won all 30 seats in the lower house. Mia Mottley, the leader of the BLP, took office as prime minister for a five-year term. She is the first female prime minister since gaining independence from Britain in 1966.The next general election is due to be held in 2023.

 

Economic Trend

^Estimate *Forecast  
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)


The Barbados economy, formerly a sugar monoculture, was developed over three decades to achieve a balance of growth and social development, and diversified into three main sectors: services, light industry and sugar. The offshore financial services sector, launched in 1985, has become the country’s second biggest source of foreign exchange after tourism. However, the global financial crisis led to a prolonged recession in Barbados, with a decade of low growth, and fiscal and external imbalances have gradually deepened. External imbalances have gradually led to an unsustainable situation, with very high debt, and very low reserves. The new government, which took office in May 2018, has committed to fiscal consolidation and structural reform as key tools for macroeconomic adjustment. The economy remained in recession in the fourth quarter of 2018. This is a result of the government's fiscal policy tightening, as well as weak consumption and investor sentiments, along with structural economic deficiencies. In November 2018, S&P raised its long- and short-term local currency sovereign credit ratings on Barbados to 'B-/B' from 'SD/SD' (Selective Default). In its latest statement, S&P noted that Barbados’ new administration has completed its local currency debt exchange, initiated an economic recovery plan, and received approval from multilateral lending institutions for new sources of financing.

Hong Kong – Barbados Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Barbados increased by 6.2% from HK$10.6 million in 2017 to HK$ 11.2 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Barbados were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-57.9%), (2) prefabricated buildings; sanitary, plumbing, heating and lighting fixtures and fittings (+269.7%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (+2351.2%), which represented 60.7% of total exports to Barbados.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) imposes no restriction on covering Barbados buyers. The Corporation’s underwriting experience on Barbados has been satisfactory, with no payment difficulty or claim payment case reported during the past 12 months (from May 2018 to April 2019).

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 3 May 2019

           
Flag and map of Ukraine

 
Key Information
Capital   Kiev
Population   42.4 million
Area   603,700 sq km
Currency   Ukrainian hryvnia (1 USD = 26.83812 UAH as of 23 April 2019)
Official language   Ukrainian
Form of government   Semi-presidential republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 71 out of 190 in 2019 (↑5)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 83 out of 140 in 2018 (↑6)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 66 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Food, beverages & agricultural products (41.0%)   Machinery & equipment (28.4%)
Non-precious metals (23.4%)   Fuel & energy (25.3%)
Machinery & equipment (11.3%)   Chemicals (13.2%)
Top three export markets (% of total, 2017)   Top three import markets (% of total, 2017)
Russia (9.0%)   Russia (14.6%)
Poland (6.3%)   China (11.2%)
Turkey (5.8%)   Germany (10.9%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

Political Highlights

 

Ukraine declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The president is the head of state directly elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term. The president appoints the prime minister who serves as the head of the government. In April 2019, Ukrainian comedian Volodymyr Zelensky won the second round of a presidential election against incumbent Petro Poroshenko by a landslide 73% of the votes. The country adopts a unicameral legislative with 450 deputies in the Verkhovna Rada (parliament). Currently, the largest faction in parliament is the European Solidarity, followed by the People’s Front. The next parliamentary election is scheduled to be held in October 2019. 
 

Economic Trend

*Estimate ^Forecast
Source: EIU


The economy of Ukraine is hinged on its activities on industry, agriculture and services sector as well as remittances from citizens working abroad. Ukraine's economy grew by 3.3% in 2018, the fastest pace since 2011. Domestic demand was the main growth driver. In particular, real wage growth of 12.5% and significant remittance inflows from abroad continued to support household consumption. The agricultural sector also enjoyed a record harvest during the year. However, the country faces substantial external debt repayments in 2019 and 2020. The government has about US$3 billion of external debt obligations coming due in the remainder of 2019 and US$5.5 billion in 2020.

In April 2019, S&P affirmed its 'B-/B' long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Ukraine. The outlook is stable. The ratings on Ukraine reflect its low per capita income levels and its challenging institutional and political environment, which reduces policy predictability and continuity. Moreover, the ratings are constrained by Ukraine's external refinancing risks, reflecting its current account deficits and large external repayment.

 

 

Hong Kong – Ukraine Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Ukraine increased by 47.4% from HK$1,640 million in 2017 to HK$2,418 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Ukraine were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (+49.8%), (2) office machines and automatic data processing machines   (+42.0%), and (3) electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and electrical parts thereof (+43.2%), which represented 88.2% of total exports to Ukraine.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Ukrainian buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC), with the exception of those under sanctions. In the past 12 months (from April 2018 to March 2019), there was no insured business on Ukraine.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 23 April 2019

       
Flag and map of Montenegro

 
Key Information
Capital   Podgorica
Population   0.61 million
Area   13,812 sq km
Currency   Euro (1 EUR = 1.1310 USD as of 16 April 2019)
Official language   Montenegrin
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 50 out of 190 in 2019 (↓8)
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 71 out of 140 in 2018 (↑2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 77 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Manufactured goods (excl machinery & equipment) (28.0%)   Machinery & equipment (24.0%)
Raw materials (excl fuel) (27.6%)   Food, beverages & tobacco (21.9%)
Food, beverages & tobacco (12.6%)   Manufactured goods (excl machinery & equipment) (17.8%)
Top three export countries (% of total, 2017)   Top three import countries (% of total, 2017)
Serbia (17.7%)   Serbia (21.5%)
Bosnia and Hercegovina (12.7%)   China (9.6%)
Hungary (8.5%)   Germany (8.5%)

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Political Highlights

 

Montenegro became an independent sovereign state from the former Union of Serbia and Montenegro following a referendum in 2006. The President is the head of state elected by universal sufferage for a five- year term. Curent president, Milo Djukanovic sworn in for his second term in May 2018, returing to a post he held between 1998-2002 when Montenegro was in a state union with Serbia. He was the leader of political party Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) and has served as prime minister six times in the past 25 years. The legislature is a unicameral assembly with 81 seats. In October 2016, Prime Minister Dusko Markovic and his ruling DPS formed a narrow majority with just 42 of the 81 seats in parliament backed by Social Democrats of Montenegro (SD) and various small ethnic minority parties. Political tensions remained high as Markovic has continued Djukanovic’s push for the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration, while the main opposition party, the Democratic Front (DF), is pro-Russian and against the European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Next parliamentary election is due to be held in October 2020, and presidential election in April 2023.

 

Economic Trend

* Forecast ^ Estimate  
Source: International Monetary Fund


Montenegro is a small open economy which relies on tourism and capital inflows from abroad. Economic growth rates were above 4% in 2017 and 2018 on the back of robust consumer demand and the implementation of large investment projects, including the construction of the Bar-Boljare Highway (a three-phase project to connect Montenegro and Serbia). However, the implementation of mega infrastructure projects has contributed to high budget deficits and rising government debt. The current account deficit is largely due to the rising construction-related imports. According to the European Commission, Montenegro’s economy is forecast to slow to 2.8% and 3.1% in 2019 and 2020 respectively, mainly affected by declining investment.

In March 2019, S&P affirmed Montenegro’s outlook as stable, maintaining its B+/B rating. S&P said many activities in the tourism and energy sector contributed to the economic growth. The country’s credit potential is also strengthened by the prospect of joining the European Union, which is accompanied by the strengthening of institutions.

Hong Kong – Montenegro Trade

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

Total exports from Hong Kong to Montenegro decreased by 12.8% from HK$51.4 million in 2017 to HK$44.8 million in 2018. The top three export categories to Montenegro were: (1) telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (-32.4%), (2) tobacco and tobacco manufactures (+82.9%), and (3) photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies and optical goods; watches and clocks (+54.5%), which represented 91.7% of total exports to Montenegro.

 

Source: Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong

 

HKECIC Underwriting Experience

 

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) offers coverage on Montenegrin buyers with payment terms in Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILC) with exception of those under sanctions. In the past 12 months (from April 2018 to March 2019), there was no insured business on Montenegro.

 

Please click here to download the charts (PDF format).

 

Last update: 17 April 2019          

Flag and map of Slovakia

 
Key Information
Capital   Bratislava
Population   5.4 million
Area   49,037 sq km
Currency   Euro (1 EUR = 1.1310 USD as of 16 April 2019)
Official language   Slovak
Form of government   Parliamentary republic
Ease of doing business by World Bank   # 42 out of 190 in 2019 (↓3) 
The Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum   # 41 out of 140 in 2018 (↓2)
Logistics Performance Index by World Bank   # 53 out of 160 in 2018
Major merchandise exports (% of total, 2017)   Major merchandise imports (% of total, 2017)
Machinery & transport equipment (59.1%)   Machinery & t